One of our family’s favorite events, the Fargo Marathon, takes place this Saturday, and every spring we look forward to cheering on the runners from the boulevard of my parents’ home on South Ninth Street.
We usually arrive just before the first runners appear, and from then on we make sure that at least one person is on the boulevard at all times until the very last runner passes. In past years, the course has placed us somewhere around mile markers 8 (half) and 20 (full), which means that our day began at 7:45 am, and ended sometime around 1:30 pm.
The leaders of the half and full marathons would usually whiz by, still looking impossibly fresh and fast; but, at this late stage in the race, many of the runners were starting to “hit the wall,” and our cheers often gave them that extra boost to keep going.
Our neighborhood has developed a reputation for being lively marathon supporters (a 2009 Forum article even described us as “rowdy’), and we take this duty very seriously. My sister and her family drive up from the Twin Cities to join us, and my father has been known to develop hand blisters from his non-stop cowbell ringing. We love the Fargo Marathon and every year we are inspired by the runners, who come in all shapes, sizes, gender, ages and abilities.
This year, the course was altered and we are now located between mile markers 4 and 5. Our coveted role as marathon cheerleaders will likely be over by ten o’clock, and the majority of runners who pass by will still be somewhat lively and fresh. We’ll continue to give them our very best, down to the final runner, but I have to confess that we’re a little blue about wrapping up so early. We almost feel as if we won’t be doing our full part for the runners.
With this in mind, we’ve decided to offer a great recipe to give the runners what they need nutritionally to make it to the finish line. While not competitive runners ourselves, we do know that loading up on carbohydrates before a big race is critical to sustaining energy throughout the event. Pasta is a great food to help achieve this, and Tony’s recipe for Pasta Puttanesca is the perfect dish.
A southern Italian specialty with a colorful background, Puttanesca originated in Naples, Italy. The name is derived from a not-so-nice word in Italian that implies women of, let’s say, easy virtue. It’s unclear how this came to be, but there are several entertaining theories available on the internet.
We love this recipe because it’s delicious, quick and easy to make, and consists of staples commonly found in an Italian pantry. Best with linguini or spaghetti, Puttanesca has an amazing aroma and depth of flavors which include: tomatoes, garlic, kalamata olives, capers and anchovies. For extra protein and flavor, consider adding jumbo shrimp to the mix. Tangy with a little spice, Puttanesca is not a heavy pasta dish, which makes it ideal for this, or any, occasion.
Some people may choose to skip the anchovies, but they are the unsung hero of this dish and we encourage you to be adventurous. Anchovies are commonly used to build flavor in many foods, even Caesar Salad and Worcestershire sauce.
Fargo Pride will be in full force again on South Ninth Street this Saturday, and we wish all the runners the best of luck. Fargo Rocks!