My friend and fellow Forest Hills Runner, Jill, recently hosted a pasta-party on the heels of the 2014 Hyannis Half/Full/Relay Marathon in Hyannis, Massachusetts. My contribution was a high-protein gluten free pasta dish; but first, we need to talk about gluten free diets.
Look, I know it’s trendy. I know it’s annoying. I get it, i.e. the eye-rolls, the skepticism, the bourgeois pathos attached to something so seemingly stupid. A barista at Starbucks asked if I wanted to sample a pastry and I remarked that I was on a gluten free diet and he snarked, “I wish I was rich enough to afford that diet.”
As far as skepticism is concerned, I am usually on the eye-roll side of the argument. I remember the Atkins rage–people eating fatty cheeseburgers without the bun–because beef wrapped in bacon and cheese coupled with a lack of exercise was not the problem. It was the bread. The fucking shitty-ass bread was making people obese.
Here’s my deal, I have psoriasis. It’s some annoying fuckery. Eventually I will write about it in detail… but if you are unfamiliar with psoriasis, it’s an auto-immune disease. While not mutually exclusive in relation to Celiacs disease there is some speculation that there is a correlation between the two. After removing gluten from my diet I noticed a marked improvement. Let me rephrase that… I experienced an enormous improvement in my epidermal well-being. In psoriasis-speak I’ve had moments of near 100% clearing.
SO HATERS: GO AHEAD AND HATE.
Until then, I’m going with what works. Unfortunately, this means no beer (sad face), no bourbon (super sad face) and no scotch (super, duper sad face). No crusty baguette. No beer battered fish ‘n chips. No dynamite roll drenched in soy sauce.
What’s interesting is that I’ve found most gluten free pastas to be near indistinguishable from their glutenful counterparts. Unlike, say, bread or pizza… most GF pastas I’ve tried are pretty darned good.
So let’s get this gluten free carbo-load party going.
You will need:
- 1 zucchini
- 1 large onion
- 3-4 cups roughly chopped kale
- 1/2 head red cabbage
- 5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1-2 cups chopped broccolini
- 1 package of gluten-free pasta
- hard cheese, I suggest Manchego
- dill for garnish/taste
Sorry to my veggie friends, I know chicken is gross. To my non-veggie friends, this is the only way to prepare skinless and boneless chicken thighs: In a cast iron skillet [You don’t have one? WTF! A made-in-the-U.S.A. Lodge skillet is less than $30… Go! Go! Go!] drizzle some olive oil and brown the chicken on medium high heat on both sides–look for a nice outer crispiness. Don’t cook the chicken all the way through! After 5-6 minutes per side transfer the skillet to a preheated 325°F oven. The chicken should remain in the oven for at least 35-45 minutes or until completely cooked through.
The result should be gorgeously tender and sublime chicken.
Prep your veggies! Chop, dice and and sauté in olive oil on medium-low heat.
Obviously this can be amended to your liking, I went with onion, kale, broccolini, red cabbage and shaved zucchini… so pretty!
A note about shaving zucchini… definitely wait to add this to the sauté as the ribbons will wilt fairly quickly.
Boil water in a large pan and add a few dashes of sea salt. Cook the delicious gluten free pasta of your liking.
Hard cheese: I use my food processor and slice it… so easy!
After the chicken is cooked through transfer to a dish and set aside. There should be some delicious yumminess left over, i.e. olive oil and chicken fat… you want to get that into the pasta. So! After draining the pasta, mix the two together. Scrape as much of the browning juices out of the cast iron skillet as possible.
Mix in the chicken, sautéed veggies and cheese.
I plated the elements here individually; as I actually presented the dish to the pasta party… less pretty. But hey, I had to bike it and the conditions were unforgiving.
This pasta dish was perfect for a pre-race eve meal. It didn’t feel overly heavy–but definitely filling.
I am currently training for the Marathon de Paris this April so I am very happy that I decided to run the Hyannis half… initially I had some reticence (to say the least). I also had low expectations as my achilles has been a nuisance as of late. Ultimately, I ended up having a great race running mostly 7:30’s and coming within a minute of my PR. (Gun time 1:43, net time 1:41, PR 1:40.) Additionally, my time rounded up my team’s time to take 4th place overall beating out the B.A.A.! (Truth be told this was due to the very fast times of my cohorts! Congrats to my teammate Owen who placed 2nd overall and to Esteban who ran a 1:22 half for his very first race!)
The race was a huge confidence builder and despite the photo of me icing in a snow bank, I felt really good afterwards. Full race report to follow!