In the summertime, when we are all blessedly swimming in fresh tomatoes, whether homegrown or from the farmers market, we eat our fair share of tomato sandwiches, salads, and the like. But what else can you do with fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes?
This year, we have something new to do with those gorgeous, juicy orbs. It’s my simple pasta alla checca. Checca is a sauce that doesn’t have to be cooked, can you believe it? No heavy, cooked meat sauce here. This is something completely different. Simply grab some tomatoes, fresh basil, and garlic and do a little chopping. The only thing that needs to be cooked is your pasta. Talk about a quick summertime meal!
(I made this with Jennifer Hines on KLTV last week. See the video here.)
Not only is it simple to make, it’s also packed with flavor! The basil is so fresh and delicious, the tomatoes add their sweet tang to the sauce, and the garlic combined with those fresh tastes make me feel like, for just a moment, I’m sitting at a farm table in Italy on a sunny day instead of in my little kitchen in East Texas. You’ll know what I mean when you try it. 🙂
Pasta alla Checca
- 1 lb pasta, cooked according to package directions (recommend bowtie or angel hair, but use what you have)
- 1 pound fresh garden tomatoes, chopped (large beefsteak, Romas, or even grape tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped (use less if you aren’t a fan of a strong garlic flavor, but one won’t likely be enough for most of us)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (no green cans, please!)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t want any heat)
In a non-metal bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Stir well so that the tomatoes are coated with the oil. (Do not salt yet!)
Allow the vegetable and oil mixture to marinate together for a couple of hours. (at least two, up to 10 hours)
When you’re ready to eat, cook pasta according to package directions. (make sure to salt water well)
When you’re ready to serve, add a bit of salt and fresh cracked black pepper to your veggies, to taste. Place some pasta in a bowl, then top with a scoop of the checca sauce, then a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
If you’d like, serve with grilled shrimp or chicken on the side. Or, if you prefer, you can drop some fresh, soft mozzarella cubes into the pasta mix before serving for added protein and flavor.
Leftovers that you might have should be refrigerated. I like to warm it slightly in the microwave before eating the delicious leftovers to wake the flavors up again. The basil flavor is incredible after it sets!
You might also like: Quick and fabulous bolognese sauce (this is one of my favorite pasta sauces!)
Copyright 2013 Stephanie Hill Frazier. All rights reserved.