Run Oregon Test Kitchen – Racing Weight Test Kitchen: Pork & Pepper Sauce Over Rotini

Beginning in March, Run Oregon bloggers were provided the “Racing Weight Cookbook: Light Recipes for Athletes” by Matt Fitzgerald. This series showcases our attempts at making some of the healthy and (hopefully) delicious recipes within the book’s pages.

Joe's attempt at Pork & Pepper Sauce Over Rotini was a delicious and filling success!

Joe’s attempt at Pork & Pepper Sauce Over Rotini was a delicious and filling success!

Name of Recipe: Pork & Pepper Sauce Over Rotini

How it went: I’m a big pasta fan, so the first recipe to catch my eye when I opened the book was this spicy dish. The fact that it was in Section 1: Recipes For The Athlete Who Doesn’t Cook was a nice bonus. At the supermarket, I ventured into a couple new aisles to round up some of the ingredients, with red pepper flakes being the most elusive (and important, because I like spicy food – I added a pinch more than the recipe’s default amount, as recommended for spice lovers). But I returned home with everything I needed, and set aside an evening for the culinary adventure.

The pepper sauce simmering on the stove.

The pepper sauce simmering on the stove.

I’m not an expert stirrer, so it took awhile to cook the ground pork thoroughly, but in the end I was successful. In fact, except for running, I’m pretty methodical (i.e., “slow”) at a lot of other things, and cooking is one of them. For one thing, I hate splatter, and I always have to pause to clean up drips and minor messes before I resume the stirring.

But it all went surprisingly well, despite taking methodical me roughly three times as long as the book’s 25-minute estimated preparation time. And only one (uncooked) rotini rolled under the stove! By the time the pasta was cooked, the sauce simmered, and the two combined, I had an extremely delicious and filling dinner. It was so good, I was a little more stuffed than usual. (My only small quibble was that the red pepper strips were a little tough. I’ve always preferred pepper chunks over strips anyway, so I may make that slight change to the recipe next time.) I was proud of the finished product, and (as with racing) I’m sure I can get my times down with increased training.

Cooking Expertise: With a very quick metabolism and a small stomach, I’m a big snacker, but a relatively light (and slow) eater. I’m also a little impatient when it comes to meal preparation, in that I don’t like to spend a lot of time producing a meal (kind of like how I prefer racing to actual training) 😉 In short, my freezer and microwave get a pretty regular workout in my kitchen.

Running & Athletic Expertise: I am a long-time runner and racer (35 years), and I’ve also done my share of soccer and pick-up basketball, among various other individual and team sports. I currently play indoor soccer once a week against players half my age, though recently my running has lagged a bit.


Racing Weight Cookbook by Matt Fitzgerald & Georgie Fear

“Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes” delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes that will help athletes hit their ideal weight without compromising performance. The book is the third in the best-selling Racing Weight Series™ and is now available in bookstores; bike, tri, and running shops; and online. Preview the book and try recipes at

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