If you’ve been involved in anything to do with fitness in the last ten or so years the phrase – carbo load – will mean something very special to you. It was pretty much a license to eat whatever crazy carbohydrate (or carbohydrate blend or carbohydrate with carbohydrate with carbohydrate combinations) you wanted and as much of it as you can leading up to a race. The object of the carbo load was to fuel your muscles with enough glycogen you needed to get you over the line, FAST. The science has since been debunked which means all those fabulous pre-race pasta/ice cream all-you-can-eat festivals have sadly gone. But us old timers, we remember. And we remember that time, fondly. In these paleo days of small, protein-heavy meals, nothing really tastes better than a side of carbs with your carbs!!! Nothing could be finer than roast potatoes with pasta!!! (A side note here: I tried this recipe without the potato croutons and people, let me tell you, they totally lift the dish from ordinary to sublime. Don’t miss this step!)
Linguine with Potato Croutons and Olive-Almond Pesto
500gms kipfler potatoes, peeled and cut into crouton-sized dice.
1 cup of fresh parsley leaves (I prefer continental parsley but good, old curly leaf will do)
1/2 cup green olives, pitted
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted in a dry fry pan until fragrant, cooled
zest of one orange
juice of two oranges, placed in a saucepan and reduced down over a medium heat to three tablespoons
olive oil as needed
500gms of linguine (I used egg pasta because it is richer)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place potato croutons in a baking dish lined with baking paper and coat with olive oil and salt. Lay them out in one single payer and place in oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta as per the instructions or until al dente.
Place olives, parsley, almonds, zest and orange juice in a food processor. Process, scraping sides down of the bowl as necessary until the ingredients are finely chopped and a paste forms. With the motor running, pour in enough olive oil through the feed tube until smooth. Scrape pesto into a bowl large enough to hold the cooked pasta and season with salt to taste.
Place drained pasta in bowl with pesto and toss to combine. Add half of the potatoes and combine again and serve. Spoon reserved potatoes over each portion and revel in the fact that you are going to win gold at the next Olympics! How long do we have to wait until carbs become cool again? It can’t be that long, can it?