Monday, June 12, 2023

Roasted Texas Beets and Summer Squash Pasta

Last Sunday our friend Dana gave us a giant box full of organic produce from her garden. The beets were calling to me, as soon as I got home I roasted the biggest one up and made this fresh and light summer dish. I used the same bowl to toss the fresh veggies with seasonings and then at the end. The olive oil, seasonings, minced garlic, and the reserved pasta water come together to make a light sauce that lets the flavors of the garden fresh veggies shine through AND meant there were fewer dishes to clean up.  

Roasted Texas Beets and Summer Squash Pasta

  • 1 large beet, cut in half and then sliced (about 1 pound)
  • 2 yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning 
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 6 ounces dry pasta of your choice
  • water according to pasta directions. Reserve one cup water after cooking
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, shredded


  1. Cut the yellow squash and beet into slices, smaller slices cook faster. Add to a large bowl with olive oil and toss with the salt, pepper, and the Italian seasoning.  
  2. Roast the vegetables in the air fryer at 380F until soft and browned, about 20 minutes. You may need to turn them at the half way point. 
  3. Mince the garlic and place in the bottom of the serving bowl that the fresh veggies were tossed in. 
  4. Cook the whole wheat pasta according to the package directions, reserving one cup pasta water when draining the pasta. 
  5. Toss the hot pasta with the minced garlic and roasted vegetables. If it appears dry add the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time. 
  6. Serve with grated parmesan cheese on top. 
  7. Take a pic and then realize no one at the table has Dana's phone number and we have to wait for Sunday to show her how good lunch turned out. 

Staten Island Memory: Insalata Caprese

On Sunday after church, open up your handy My HEB app, today's free coupon is for vine ripe tomatoes. Immediately flash back to lazy summer days in New York and sitting on the back deck in Staten Island and eating Insalata Caprese made from fresh mozzarella from Pastosa Ravioli and tomatoes and basil grown just feet away on the sunny side of the backyard. 

There's only one thing to do with this bounty: make Insalata Caprese. 

Insalata Caprese

  • 3-4 medium size vine ripe tomatoes, preferably of the same size
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, approximately 8-10 oz 
  • Handful basil leaves
  • Large Grain Salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste 
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar 

  1. Wash and dry tomatoes and basil, spin the basil dry or dry with a paper towel. 
  2. Cut each tomato and the mozzarella ball into slices. 
  3. Layer tomato, mozzarella and basil slices on a platter.
  4. Sprinkle with black pepper and kosher salt.  
  5. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  
  6. Serve as a salad or as an appetizer.
  • The mozzarella ball is easier to cut when it's chilled, but this dish is more flavorful at room temperature. If possible, prepare this dish first so the cheese has a chance to warm up and the flavors can meld. 
  • I was taught to use the Italian flag as inspiration when assembling this dish, red-white-green, but I prefer to have the basil between the tomato and the basil, red-green-white, I feel like it's more flavorful that way.