Nothing new on race day.

That’s what they tell you starting from day one of marathon training, when you’ve only barely just learned to lace up your sneakers and tie a double knot without using the bunny ears method (although some of us still haven’t achieved that last part.  No comment.)

And you repeat it to yourself before every long run, making sure you have the perfect flavor of powerade in your little water bottles and your favorite Gu gels safety pinned to your fuel belt.


Some may call us anal retentive, but there’s really nothing we can do about it.

It’s a Pavlovian response.

Positive reinforcement at it’s finest.

You have one good long run, and then you feel compelled to re-enact the exact sequence of events that led up to it before your next one.

You wear the exact same clothing.  Eat all of the exact same food.  Perform a series of stretches in the exact same order.  Try to pee the exact same number of times.

Basically you become an obsessive compulsive psychopath.  All the while telling yourself that this is good for your health.  Um.  Right.


Aside from all that, though, there is the cardinal rule, which is that carb-loading before a long run, and especially before race day, is really not the time, nor the place for rebellion.

No matter how cavalier you’re feeling.  No matter how much you really really really want sushi or curry or to eat ice cream for dinner.  Just.Don’t.Do.It.  Your gag reflex will thank you on mile 15. I promise.

Then again, there are, of course, some of us who are more reckless with their intestines than others.  Some of us who have broken every single one of those rules.  And then some.

Some of us who start craving ricotta at 3pm the afternoon before an 18 mile run and bee-line straight to Whole Foods to get some of the fresh local good stuff even though dairy is a BIG pre-run no-no.  Oops.



This week’s Gourmet Game Changing woman is Elizabeth David and when I saw her recipe for pasta with ricotta, I just couldn’t get it out of my head.

This is not that recipe.  But it does have ricotta.

And roasted tomatoes and roasted figs and basically all that is good in this world.

Maybe not the night before you run for three hours.  Unless you’re me, in which case your stomach is going to be a disaster no matter what you eat (nerves) and so…you might as well eat on the wild side.

For more Elizabeth David recipes, check out these blogs:
Val – More Than Burnt Toast
Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan – The Spice Garden
Claudia – A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather – girlichef
Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette – Healthy Living
April – Abby Sweets
Katie – Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary – One Perfect Bite
Kathleen –Bake Away with Me
Viola – The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue – The View from Great Island
Barbara – Movable Feasts
Kathleen – Gonna Want Seconds
Amy – Beloved Green
Jeanette – Healthy Living
Linda – Ciao Chow Linda
Linda A – There and Back Again

For those of you in the NYC area (or looking to visit the NYC area), I just want to put out a reminder that the New York City Wine and Food Festival is fast approaching and now is the time to get your tickets!  I went to one of the tastings last year, which was absolutely amazing, and will be (hopefully) covering some of the events this year.  The festival runs from September 29th through October 2nd and there really is an event for everyone whether you’re into wine, baking, cooking, grilling, etc.


Pasta with Ricotta, Roasted Tomatoes, Figs, and Arugula
Serves 4, an Eats Well With Others Original


  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp rosemary-infused olive oil (or regular olive oil)
  • 2 pints fresh figs (you can substitute with dried figs, but don’t roast them and reconstitute them in boiling water)
  • 1/2 lb rigatoni
  • 1 lb fresh ricotta
  • 8 oz wild arugula
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil in a large bowl, along with about 1 tsp salt.  Place on a large foil-covered baking sheet.  Roast for 40 minutes, or until tomato skins are starting to crack and shrivel.  Trim figs and cut in half lengthwise.  Place them on a second foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down.  Roast for 20 minutes.
  2. Cook rigatoni in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain.  Toss with tomatoes, figs, ricotta, and arugula.  Mix in balsamic vinegar.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Sarah of La Cuisine de Sarah.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
Share →

78 Responses to Pasta with Ricotta, Roasted Tomatoes, Figs, and Arugula

  1. This looks worth the potential running stomach ache! Again, I’d like to start showing up at your place for dinner on a regular basis.

  2. I try to have a “food routine” of sorts before long runs but it doesn’t necessarily always work. 🙁 And I’d break the routine to eat this delicious dish! YUM.

  3. Barbara says:

    Yummy salad, Joanne. Those tomatoes look divine. I’m crazy about the figs you threw in there….super idea!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Those tomatoes are gooorgeous. I literally eat ricotta by the spoonful.

  5. OohLookBel says:

    Figs with pasta is something I must try. If it’s good enough for you psychopath runners…

  6. I understand the urge to re-enact the exact sequence of events, trying to recreate success. But I have never recorded details relating to peeing. Maybe thats where I was lacking. OK, start of a new diary, details of which will not be available on my blog:)

    Really nice meal – cheese, tomatoes, pasta…delicious and full of energy!

  7. What awesome flavors, wow! That pasta dish is amazing and every so mouthwatering.



  8. ~Bee says:

    This looks delish. I have a friend who does running and says carbo-loading is a myth–but he’s also a strong advocate of the paleo diet so I think he’s just trying to justify it (it IS an interesting diet though). I tend to shy from arugala, but I keep thinking I should give it another chance.

  9. Candace says:

    I’m pretty sure that roasted tomatoes tops the list of my most favorite foods. If I can stop myself from eating them straight from the pan, I can usually manage to get a few into my dish. I would never have thought to put figs in anything that contained roasted tomatoes; but, that works. This dish is beautiful, Joanne, and I’m pretty sure it tastes amazing, as well. Have a great weekend!

  10. bellini says:

    This recipe is a great tribute to Elizabeth David Joanne, I know she would aprove.

  11. Pierce says:

    I Love love LOVE roaste dtomatoes. Grand photo here, Joanne! But you know, I still have images in my head of that fig tart.

  12. elly says:

    I’ve never thought to use figs in a pasta, but they do pair so awesomely with ricotta that I think I have to!

  13. ASHLEA says:

    I can’t get enough of figs and I have never used them in pasta. Will have to try. This has so many of my very favorite ingredients! Sure wish I could hop up to NY for that festival. How fun!

  14. Phew! That’s a lot of flavour going on! I never would have thought to include figs … but, yeah! Good one, Joanne!

  15. brocstar says:

    This is a good reminder, as I have my 20 mile run tomorrow morning.
    I usually forget about pre-run eating the night before, and then regret it the next morning. I always have carbs in the morning though… no fruit or dairy for me unless I want pain and misery.

  16. Sofia says:

    damn. i want this for lunch. do you deliver?

  17. I’ve been looking for a reason to make some fresh ricotta, and now I’ve found it. Your photos of the tomatoes are stunning.

  18. Danielle says:

    I love how you keep adding fruits to your pasta dishes. I never would have thought of doing this.

  19. brandi says:

    ooh, this is perfect! love the idea of the figs + tomatoes together.

  20. Dawn says:

    I love the tart sweetness of roasted tomatoes. They are one of my most favorite things ever. What a great mix of flavors in this dish. I would love to try and recreate with the non-dairy ricotta that cara mentioned recently. I need to get with her for the recipe and then make this!

  21. MM says:

    I’ve come to really appreciate the awesomness of roasted cherry tomatoes. Few things more perfect.

    Fun to see you enjoying those figs! I’ve never had figs in pasta. Haven’t heard of it either. But I can see how it would work.

    Not bad for a psychopath 😉

  22. I love the figs in this! Good luck with your run. I don’t think you’ll need it, though.

  23. Swathi says:

    Pasta with creamy ricotta and roasted tomato is awesome.Addition of figs make it sweeter.

  24. Miriam says:

    I’m lovin’ those tomatoes!!! Great meal :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  25. ricotta is my WEAKNESS! if i have fresh tomato sauce, i can eat ungodly amts of ricotta…

  26. Tasha says:

    All of those tomato pictures are just GORGEOUS!

  27. When I was young, I wore the same pair of underwear to every single cheerleading tryout I had. For years. It was the only day of the year that I wore them. And it worked 🙂

    This pasta looks amazing.

  28. Veronica says:

    So lovely–I hope it didn’t affect you too badly during your run!

  29. Nicole, RD says:

    That looks fantastic, Joanne. I love arugula, so long as i’ts not cooked. And I am going to Whole Foods today — I’ll have to look for the good stuff you speak of 😉

  30. Looks so nutritious and mouth-watering! A great dish for the entire family!

  31. Shannon says:

    the figs in here intrigue me. can i have a bowl? oh wait, no dairy before a race. boo. i’ll be there afterwards 🙂

  32. Um, everything about this recipe and post is amazing. I have an 11 mile run this weekend, and I’m NOT looking forward to it, especially with my disaster of a run last week!

  33. Pam says:

    As a person who never runs, I love learning about it from you. And as a person who adores, ricotta, this post has everything!

  34. Rachel says:

    Eh, there’s carbs in there. I’m sure your gut can overlook a little ricotta when there’s pasta involved!
    This is yet another one of your creations that I simply cannot wait to try, and share, and drool over.

  35. Victoria says:

    This is SO up my alley! Even though I’m not quite OSD in matter of running (I don’t run, I walk), I love this combo for pasta. Looks perfect. Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

  36. my mouth is watering… i blame you.

  37. This is so, so, totally worth it! Yummmmmm!

  38. Sarah says:

    LOVE the idea of figs!

  39. Yum, Yum, Yum. I can’t wait to tell my eight year old son that he isn’t the only one in the world who hasn’t mastered shoe-lacing.

  40. Amy says:

    Some of the very best professional athletes are completely submerged in routine and superstition. Just sayin’.

  41. That Girl says:

    So funny. A friend of mine just ran her first race and went out and bought new pants the day before. The only thing I could think was “nothing new on race day!”

  42. girlichef says:

    You had me at roasted tomatoes….yum!

  43. Katelyn says:

    I LOVE every single ingredient in this recipe. And I happen to have most of the ingredients on hand. I also love when there are way more goodies than pasta. Do you think I could get away with substituting larger tomatoes? I have some good, fairly sweet ones (I have no idea what variety, but they’re definitely not cherry) or do you think it would throw off the flavor/texture?

  44. IT looks absolutely perfect, a great tribute to Elizabeth David!

  45. Johanna GGG says:

    ooh how fascinating to hear some insights into marathon running – I just think pain and pasta when I think marathons – though not such tasty pasta – just the thought of it would be great when running to take your mind off the pain

  46. More stolen figs?? 😉 looks so yum!!

  47. Jeanette says:

    Wow, what a combination! I’ve never tried roasting figs, but I happen to have some from Whole Foods, and am going to have to try it.

  48. Hannah says:

    I know everyone always raves about them, but I find myself at a loss when it comes to preparing figs. I have yet to find a dish in which they really shine and are just as succulent as the cookbooks say. Maybe this is the dish to change that… Roasting makes everything 10x more delicious, at least!

  49. I wish I had this in front of me! Looks droolworthy!

  50. daphne says:

    ah.. positive reinforcement- my favourite tool of the trade.
    Look at how awesome this is- I think ricotta should be used more often to create the creamy texture! Less cream more health!

  51. Beautiful colour on those tomatoes. And I would never have thought to add figs! Brilliant. Hope the run went well!

  52. marla says:

    That food & wine festival must be amazing!
    I would much rather this pasta to Gu packs any day.
    I have never had pasta with figs and now must!

  53. Lyndsey says:

    This looks worth craving! Yum! My husband is the distance runner, and he always seems to want the pasta with dairy in it too. This seems perfect!

  54. Lora says:

    The pasta is perfect. Love the figs. I still tie my shoes bunny ears style, a lefty curse and the only time I run is towards the oven is something is burning. You impress me so!

  55. teresa says:

    i so with i was a runner, i’ve just never gotten there. this looks amazing, i LOVE arugula.

  56. Count me in, anything with roasted tomatoes, but then you went and added arugula. I’d love this.

  57. Great combo and fantastic photos as always!

  58. Pam says:

    There is nothing better than roasted tomatoes. This dish looks amazing (as usual).

  59. Kelly says:

    The roasted tomatoes alone, have me immensely interested. The fig is also wonderful.

  60. Chris says:

    My favorite carbo loading weapon is pasta carbonara. Alexis and I used to get two orders of it from this Italian place the night before our 100 mile bike rides.

    The ricotta makes that look sooooooo creamy good.

    I have to admit I never counted bathroom trips though:)

  61. Reeni says:

    The creamy ricotta and the roasted tomatoes together are heaven! Throw some figs into the mix and that’s a party I want to be at!

  62. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Sounds like a delicious dish. Have a good run. Blessings, Catherine xo

  63. Ooh, this pasta is making me hungry! Thanks for the headsup about the Food and Wine festival – I’d forgotten it was so soon. I’ll have to check it out 🙂 (Let me know if you ever need company!)

  64. Foodycat says:

    I am totally impressed that you know so much about running! Can I have some pasta even if I am not running a marathon? The picture of the tomatoes all glossy with the oil and salt is just stunning.

  65. This pasta is gorgeous: hearty, fresh, and flavorful ingredients make it a winner in my book!

  66. Katie says:

    Wow! I am so, so glad that I got tomatoes and arugula from the farmers’ market this weekend. Now, I just need to pick up figs. The combination of flavors in this pasta sounds incredible!

  67. kyleen says:

    This looks delicious and healthy, and hey it’s got pasta in it so it counts as carbs 😀 Good luck on your run!

  68. Esi says:

    You know I love my roasted tomatoes. Love the sweet and savory flavors in this pasta

  69. What an original and delicious combination of ingredients and what a pretty dish it makes. Eaten before or after, this will surely make you run better. 😉

  70. Carolyn Jung says:

    Figs with tomatoes in pasta is something I would have never imagined. But I love figs. And I love tomatoes. So why the heck not then? 😉

  71. Such a cool combination of flavors. Love love love pasta!

  72. I love the shot of those roasted tomatoes full of rich, roasted goodness. What a delightful combination of flavors in this pasta!

  73. You have truly taken pasta to a new level with this recipe.

  74. Miranda says:

    Mmmm, those tomatoes look so beautiful – roasted and un-roasted. I want this pasta. Wait, now I have the recipe!

  75. More figs! Loving it in a savoury dish, Joanne! 🙂

  76. Ruth Daniels says:

    First things first… is there really another way to tie your shoelaces?

    Good luck with the marathon and thanks so much for the droolingly delicious pasta with Presto Pasta Nights – I’d never have thought of pairing figs (sweet) with tangy tomatoes. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  77. Cara says:

    You know what I love? The fact that you call this a pasta dish and I can see at most 3 pieces of ziti in any single photo. Dare I say I’ve rubbed off on you?

    And btw, do you even know how much a pint of figs costs near me? Too much, but totally worth it for this meal, I’m sure.

  78. Love the sound of this pasta dish!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *