Pasta is still the carb of choice for many athletes who want to load up with energy before a big day of competing. So, here are some recipes for pasta sauces that will make your pasta a whole lot more appetising than just the standard bolognese.

Don’t forget to let us know your favourite pasta sauces to eat before you compete in the comments section at the end of the article…

1. TEAM PRAWN + SPINACH SAUCE

Serves 6
Cooking time: 18 minutes

pasta sauces

2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 yellow capsicum, finely chopped
60ml dry white wine
180ml vegetable stock
60ml light cream
140g light cream cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup Parmesan
1 lemon, zested
3 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach leaves
500g green peeled prawns
Pasta cooked al dente, such as linguine, to serve

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and capsicum and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until capsicum is soft.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, then add the wine, stock, cream, cream cheese and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes, or until mixture reduces slightly.
  3. Stir in the Parmesan and zest. Simmer for a further 4-5 minutes, or until mixture has thickened to a desired sauce consistency. Remove pan from heat and stir through the spinach.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat remaining butter. Add prawns and cook for 2-4 minutes, or until coloured and just cooked through. Add prawns to the cream sauce mixture and stir gently to combine.
  5. Serve spooned over cooked pasta and sprinkled with black pepper.

4. SPEEDY SUN-DRIED TOMATO + MUSHROOM SAUCE

Serves 4
Cooking time: 13 minutes

pasta sauce2 Tbsp olive oil
250g medium-size mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
100g sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
2 chicken stock cubes (or 2 tsp chicken stock powder)
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
Pasta cooked al dente, such as fettuccine, to serve

  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir through sun-dried tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium.
  2. Dissolve chicken stock cubes/powder in the boiling water and pour into the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add cream, bring to boil and reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Add Parmesan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir through the basil.
  4. Serve sauce stirred through the cooked pasta.

3. MARATHON CHORIZO, KALAMATA + TOMATO SAUCE

Serves 8 
Cooking time: 2 hours 12 minutes

Too much sauce? You can halve the recipe or freeze any extra sauce for later use.

pasta sauce olives1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small brown onion, diced
200g chorizo sausage, diagonally thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bottles passata (700ml)
2 x 400g tins whole Roma tomatoes
1 Tbsp powdered chicken stock
2 tsp chilli powder
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, leaves finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves finely chopped
1 small jar capers
300g pitted kalamata olives
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, to serve
Pasta cooked al dente, such as papardelle or penne, to serve

  1. Heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add chorizo slices and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly browned. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes or until translucent. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Pour in passata and tins of tomatoes. Using the back of a fork, crush the whole tomatoes slightly. Stir in stock and chilli powders, red wine, tomato paste, parsley and oregano. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Remove lid, add capers and olives, then cook for a further 1 hour, or until sauce has reduced to a lovely thick consistency and flavours have melded.
  4. Top with fresh basil, then serve over cooked pasta.

4. WINNING DUCK, ASPARAGUS AND PESTO SAUCE

Serves 4
Cooking time: 6 minutes

chicken, asparagus and pesto1 large duck breast (you can also use 300g diced chicken breast or thigh if desired, if desired)
Salt, to season
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 3cm lengths
1 jar bought basil pesto
1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
Cooked pasta, such as ziti or rigatoni, to serve

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water, then bring to the boil over medium heat.
  2. Rinse duck breast and pat dry using paper towel. With fat side facing up, make diagonal slices across the breast about 1cm apart (careful not to cut into the meat). Liberally season with salt.
  3. Heat a small frying pan over medium-high. Place duck breast, fat side down, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fat is rendered and gold brown. Turn over and cook for 2 minutes or until meat is just cooked through. Remove breast from pan and set aside. If using chicken, pan fry for 3-5 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through.
  4. Place asparagus in the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain immediately.
  5. Chop duck breast into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add asparagus and 1/3 cup pesto and stir to combine.
  6. Toss sauce through cooked pasta and serve sprinkled with chopped walnuts.

5. CHAMPION CHUNKY SAUSAGE + VEGETABLE SAUCE

This sauce can be frozen in batches for later use.

chunky sausage and veg pasta sauceServes 6-8
Cooking time: 32 minutes

900g Italian sausages, casings removed and discarded
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
2 capsicums (1 green and 1 red), seeded, chopped into chunks
1 tsp each of salt and black pepper
700ml jar passata
1 Tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Pasta cooked al dente, such as thick spaghetti, to serve
Grated Parmesan, to serve

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add sausage mince and brown, stirring to break up the meat, for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, heat remaining oil. Add garlic and onion, then cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add carrot, capsicum, salt and pepper, then cook for 1 minute. Return sausage mince to the pan and stir to combine.
  3. Stir in passata, sugar, oregano and basil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Serve over cooked pasta, sprinkled with Parmesan.

Everyone has a favourite pasta sauce. What’s yours? State your taste sensations in the comments below.

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