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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Racing for a Cause? Try this Great Pasta Dish: Penne alla Siciliana!

A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law Diane came to town for a visit. It wasn’t just any visit however, she came to participate in the 19th Annual Susan G. Komen South Florida Race for the Cure. She is an 11 year breast cancer survivor and last year we started the tradition of walking together in the race. The first time, we didn't really expect her to finish the entire 5K (slightly over 3 miles) but, to our surprise, Diane just kept on going and crossed that finish line with a smile on her face and a spring in her step! We were so impressed and proud and now it is a tradition we look forward to every year.

The night before, I decided to make a nice, hearty pasta dish to “carbo-load” in preparation for our arduous walk. I turned to my reliable recipe resource “Savor the Moment” and decided on Penne alla Siciliana (pg. 202). With prosciutto, peas, fresh chives and Parmesan cheese it’s essentially a one pot meal and what’s not to love about those ingredients? It sounded like just the right pre-race dinner! I had to include the recipe below for those of you who may have upcoming races to prepare for.

I must confess, we also had a glass (or two) of red wine with our pasta – Diane was on vacation after all! We went with a Spanish red, the 2006 Bodegas Bilbainas Tempranillo Rioja Viña Zaco. With its nice tannins and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and smoky chocolate oak, it paired very nicely with our pasta dish. This wine is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes and aged in both American and French oak in order to achieve the perfect expression of fruit and freshness. Dubbed a "modern interpretation" of Rioja, this tasty and versatile wine was also featured in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2009. It received a 90 point rating and at $15-17 per bottle is great buy!

Penne alla Siciliana
16 ounces uncooked penne
4 ounces prosciutto, julienned
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup beef stock
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
Cook the pasta al dente using the package directions; keep warm. Saute the prosciutto in the olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter, onion, peas, chives, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat until the onion is tender. Add the beef stock and prosciutto. Cook until heated through.
Drain the pasta and combine with the sauce in a bowl; toss gently to mix well. Top with the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately. Serves six.

After crossing the finish line we headed over to ER Bradley's Saloon to toast the brave lady who, once again, successfully completed the entire walk (and maybe also to remedy a few aches and pains.) Of course I like to think the Penne alla Siciliana played some small part in our completing the 5K with such gusto! It was a beautiful day and we were all so happy to have participated in such a meaningful event with a lady we love so much. Cheers, Diane, we're already looking forward to 2011!


  1. Stephanie this is such a touching post. I love that you guys shared and rooted for Diane in this accomplishment, which is symbolic of the one she overcame many years ago. Bravo!

  2. great pasta and great cause love the pic with the flower special lady

  3. It sounds absolutely delicious...the wine too!! Great job finishing the race!!!

    :) T

  4. Stephanie, how wonderful that you can participate in the race with your mother-in-law. She's a brave lady and it would be an honor to be in her presence. Your pasta looks perfect for the event.

  5. What a wonderful thing to participate in.
    Nothing inspires me to do good in the gym as much as knowing there is some good food waiting for me when i get home. After all, thats the only reason i exercize LOL (to eat).
    Hope you had a fab weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  6. Congratulations to your mother in law for being clear for 11 years. That's amazing! And how awesome that you walk this race together. :) Love the recipe.. it looks delicious!

  7. Thanks for all your sweet comments. She is such a wonderful and strong lady:)

  8. Last night was my 'Pasta' night, a pesto tortellini with the best Viognier, so yummy!

    Thanks for coming over, I love your site as well, always looking for wine connections, you should check out my Wine-down Wednesday post, and also I started, and join in, I would love some expertise joining in!

  9. What a super mother-in-law you have! Good for her and for you for making this a traditional walk every year! It's worth celebrating.

    The "carb-heavy" dinner looks divine! I haven't tried that one yet and now I will.

  10. One of the best parts of racing is DEFINITELY carb-loading! This pasta looks fantastic...what a great way to do it!

    Congrats to you and your MIL! That is amazing. She must be such a trooper.

  11. I kind of want to start running just so I'll have an excuse to carbo-load with something that delicious looking!

  12. Congratulations to you and your family on supporting and completing the race! You've inspired me to attempt your delicious Penne & Tempranillo duo, and your short rib bourgeonne sounds AMAZING! I need to make a note to only read your updates AFTER I've eaten ;)

  13. Oh how nice! The pasta looks beautiful too! And healthy! :)

  14. Lovely story! And bravo for supporting the race ... and passing the finish line.

  15. Stephanie....What a great's my first time here.
    Your MIL is beautiful and I must tell you that so are you.
    Imagine finishing the crossing line.. and 11 years..Bravo Madame~


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