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TriathlEats: Pasta e Fagioli

A healthy twist on the Italian classic “pasta and beans,” this is a perfect dish to fuel cool-weather training.

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A healthy twist on the Italian classic “pasta and beans,” this is a perfect dish to fuel cool-weather training.

Ingredients

½ cup dry whole-wheat elbow macaroni
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 oz lean ground turkey
¼ cup carrots, diced
½ cup red potato, diced
¼ cup yellow onion, diced
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock, 100% fat free
1 can cannellini beans, half drained and hand mashed with a fork
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1 T Italian seasoning
Sea salt, to taste
Romano cheese, to taste

Directions

Cook whole-wheat pasta according to package instructions (approximately 10 minutes), drain and set aside. Add olive oil and turkey to warm pan over medium heat and slowly cook turkey until done. Lower heat to medium-low and add carrot, onion and potato. Cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, cover pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. Add mashed beans to the pan and stir to combine. Add Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and sea salt to taste. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir pasta into soup and serve topped with Romano cheese. Serves 2.

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Meet the Triathlete-Chef

With an Italian father and Puerto Rican mother, Leo Di Canio grew up in a home where food was very important. “We are very passionate when it comes to food and wine,” he says. The Tampa, Fla., native, who just relocated back to Las Vegas, became even more interested in food and becoming a chef when he and his family moved to Italy for three years, when Di Canio was 15 years old. He attended the School of Culinary Arts in Atlanta to hone his skills and he now runs his own private chef business, which has grown solely through word of mouth. Working for himself also gives him the time to train for triathlon, which he’s been racing for the last few years. In 2012, he watched the Ironman World Championship on TV and was so moved that he signed up for Ironman Florida with zero swim, bike or run experience. With one year to prepare, he hired six-time Ironman world champion Mark Allen as his coach. Allen helped Di Canio work his way up through the triathlon distances to become an Ironman in 2013, and he’s since coached him to several other triathlon finishes. “I could never have done it without Mark’s help,” he says. “He is a true mentor and I owe it all to him.” Di Canio will be racing the iron-distance HITS race in Palm Springs in December, and for now his triathlon goals are to stay healthy and keep having fun. “The most important thing is to have fun, to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments,” he says. “That’s what triathlon is really all about.”

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