Pasta alla Checca

This is another quick and easy to put together weeknight meal.  It is a fresh, uncooked tomato sauce.  I normally wouldn't think of buying a tomato out of season, but this is a recipe where I make an exception.  Those little Nature Sweet Cherub tomatoes you find in the grocery store have a delightful sweetness to them even in the dead of winter.  

The original recipe calls for coarsely chopping the tomatoes in the food processor, but I have children.   As good of eaters as they are, they are not too fond of chunky tomatoes.  So, I puree the mixture until it resembles a creamy Italian salsa.  No chunks = happy kids!  The original recipe also serves it with thin strand spaghettini or angel hair, but since I puree my sauce I like using the twisted pasta called Gemelli.  The finer sauce clings nicely into the spriral shape.   Feel free to use whatever pasta your family fancies.  

For dinner we eat it warm with the mozzarella cheese all gooey and stringy, but my kids enjoy it so much that they ask for it in their lunch box as a cold pasta salad.  Healthy lunch = happy Mom! 

Note: If you don't have a kitchen scale just eyeball it.  1 oz = 2 tablespoons solid not grated.

Pasta alla Checca
serves 6 as a main course

1 pound of Gemelli pasta or pasta of your choice
1 (10.5-12 ounce) container of cherry tomatoes
3 scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 (1-ounce) piece of good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, coarsely chopped
8 fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cherry tomatoes, scallions, garlic, Parmesan, basil, oil and salt and pulse until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped or puree for a finer sauce.  Stir in the mozzarella cheese and black pepper.  Transfer the sauce to a large bowl and set aside.  

Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's directions.  Drain the pasta and toss into the bowl with the Checca sauce.   Serve warm or cold with crushed red pepper flakes to taste.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Everyday Italian, Giada deLaurentis

1 comment:

  1. Made this tonight; tastes so fresh with all of the ingredients mixed together~


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