Pre-Race Carb Load: Spaghetti with Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Fellow runners, athletes, and adventurous friends, do you all have a favorite pre-race meal?  I first started the habit of eating spaghetti the night before a race when my high school nordic skiing and cross country teams would gather together for team pasta feeds. Nothing beats good ole' spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread!  Tomorrow is the Xterra off-road triathlon (open water swim, mountain bike ride, and trail run), which will definitely be my longest and most difficult race of the year, so tonight consists of stretching, foam rolling, packing bags, filling bike tires, mentally preparing transitions, and of course, carb loading.

I started making these turkey pesto meatballs a couple years ago before a triathlon, and it has become our pre-race tradition in the Ross household.  Maybe it's a placebo effect, but it works for us.  We both kicked butt in the Santa Fe triathlon last year.  I have been a little obsessed with pesto since discovering Noodles and Company's Pesto Cavatapi several years back, so of course I was stoked to make it a regular ingredient in our pre-race dinners.


All the good stuff

Cooking the meatballs



2 cups purchased chunky tomato pasta sauce
8 oz ground turkey
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless Italian or French bread
2 1/2 tablespoons purchased pesto
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz spaghetti

Spread 1 cup pasta sauce over bottom of heavy medium skillet.  Mix turkey, breadcrumbs, pesto, egg white, and salt in medium bowl.  Using moistened hands, form mixture into 8 meatballs (or I prefer 15-16 smaller meatballs).  Place meatballs in single layer in sauce.  Spoon remaining sauce over.  Bring to simmer.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta; divide between bowls.  Top with meatballs and sauce.  Serve with salad and garlic bread!

*Note: I add an extra egg white for better consistency, and additional sauce for bread dipping!

Where are my meatballs??


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