Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Runnin' Free: Liberated Free Form Lasagna

Running is an affordable sport - for the most part.  I did my first 5k in 2003.  They're easy and up until this year, relatively cheap.  In 2010 I did a race every month.  I would say that on average I paid about $25 a race. 

But running has become more popular, and more expensive.  Everytime I've gone to sign up for a 5k this past year they've been closer to $50 than $25.  And really, I have a hard time justifying spending $50 to run 3 miles - which I do every day of the week for free.  So I've been putting 5ks on hold for a bit.

But when I saw a race on Living Social with a $12 entry fee I was intrigued.  Even more so when I realized it was right around the corner from my home - the course was actually the same route we've been running on the past couple weekends beside the water.  Which made it easy to rope Horse Whisperer and Mrs. Pirate into doing it with me.

It was a really easy course - just out and back.  Up a hill, then down a hill.  It was Horse Whisper's first 5k and she did great!  It actually wasn't the fastest race I've run, but it sure felt like it was over quickly.  Maybe because we're used to running 5 miles, so 3 was nothing.

We crossed the finish and collected our medals.  That's right - a $12 5k WITH MEDALS!  Which makes this officially one of my favorite races.  The race support was fantastic, with lots of free drinks and food, and a bounce house for little ones.  The only thing it was missing was a post-race beer garden.

And since I like to pair running with pasta - here's a great one for you.  Valli calls this "Liberated" Lasagna - it's a very deconstructed free form type of meal with all the components you're used to with lasagna - pasta sheets, sauce, and cheese.  I like it because it's a great way to use up extra or broken lasagna noodles.  You don't have to use the roasted tomato sauce, but I would recommend it.  It's a fantastic recipe and makes enough to have leftovers to freeze.

Liberated Free Form Lasagna with Arugula Basil Pesto and Roasted Tomato Sauce (From More Than Burnt Toast)

1 pound red cherry tomatoes
1 pound yellow cherry tomatoes
1cup olive oil (divided)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cup fresh basil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
2 generous handfuls (loosely packed) fresh arugula
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lukewarm water
6 sheets of lasagna noodles
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine the tomatoes with the 1/4 cup oil, onion, 2 cloves of garlic, balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes  salt, and pepper in an oven safe dish. Roast until the tomatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes to an hour
  2. Combine tomato mixture with 1/4 cup basil chiffonade, parsley, and oregano in a blender; pulse several times, until smooth.
  3. Place 1/2 cup oil, remaining basil leaves, arugula, Romano cheese, pine nuts, remaining garlic, and  lemon zest in food processor. Process to a thick paste.
  4. With motor running, add remaining 1/4 cup oil and 2 tablespoons water to processor. Blend until smooth. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Cook lasagna sheets according to package directions. On an ovenproof plate create alternate layers starting with cooked pasta sheets, arugula-basil pesto, slices of buffalo mozzarella and roasted tomato sauce and ending with pesto. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, just enough to melt mozzarella. Sprinkle with grated Romano. Serve immediately.


  1. I've pretty much stopped running smaller races entirely because they are so much money...and it really adds up quickly! It's refreshing to hear about a good quality less expensive smaller race!

    Okay, this lasagna. Need. In my life.

  2. I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe. A reconstructed pasta is not something I invented but it is limited only by your imagination. Be liberated and let your imagination run free:D

  3. There's a club in San Francisco that puts on $5 5 and 10Ks almost every weekend and I've gotten SOOO spoiled! I pretty much won't sign up for any other short race because they always cost so dang much!

  4. Not too long ago I had this ambitious idea to attempt running. Yeah, that didn't really pan out lol. But I admire those that do. I was always curious if I could just show up and run along with folks during races. It's ridiculous how much they charge for a free activity!