Pasta alla checca is a simple, yet delicious pasta dish made with fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and mozzarella. What makes this dish stand out is its simplicity. The dish is so easy to make that the only cooking time you need is when cooking pasta. The rest is super easy.
You might have tried several pasta dishes, but have you ever come across a cold pasta dish that is just as juicy and comforting as a regular pasta recipe? If not, you are in luck because this pasta alla checca is not just flavorful but is a perfect cold dish for any summer meals.
I haven’t found a dish more versatile than this. You can literally eat it whenever you want. Whether it is lunch, dinner, evening, or midnight snacks, this dish works perfectly for every occasion.
Where this dish comes from?
Pasta Alla Checca is a primo piatto dish that belongs to the Roman cuisine. This dish is normally served during summer when tomatoes are on season and you can get their full flavor. The dish is known for its clean flavors and simplicity, making it one of the roman’s favorite during the warm season.
What does the word “checca” mean?
The word “checca” is quite famous in Italian. There is the legend that says it comes from the cook’s name who invented the dish: Francesca, which the diminutive is checca. But there’s not actual record that this is the real origin of this dish.
Pasta alla checca is sold mostly in the tavole calde or coffee bars in Rome, since it can be served cold and on the go, make it a perfect meal for those in a hurry.
Because pasta alla checca is a cold meal, you don’t have to worry about cooking the tomatoes. The freshness of the tomatoes, along with the flavors from the other simple ingredients, make this dish simple yet so delicious.
The Simple Ingredients
You won’t find a pasta dish simpler than this one. This cold dish uses five ingredients only. And above all, the ingredients are readily available in every kitchen pantry. A win-win situation.
- Pasta: The main ingredient of the dish is pasta. Traditionally, this Roman dish is made from either spaghetti or linguine pasta. However, you can also choose any shape available in your kitchen pantry.
- Tomatoes: Fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes are perfect for this dish. They are juicy, concentrated, and bring in the tomato-y flavor. Anyway, this dish can be made with any kind of tomatoes.
- Mozzarella: You can either shred fresh mozzarella or cut it into cubes. Avoid using frozen cheese as it will become watery.
- Basil leaves: Basil has a distinct, robust flavor of its own.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Because of the simplicity of this pasta dish, I really recommend using a good quality of extra virgin olive oil.
- Seasonings: What’s better than seasoning a dish with salt and black pepper? You can adjust the flavors according to your liking.
If you want to add more flavors to this pasta, you can spice it up with red chili flakes or dried Italian herbs. The main idea is to enjoy the natural flavors of the ingredients.
How to store?
Although pasta alla checca can be served immediately, you can store the leftover pasta in an air-tight container and refrigerate it. It will last for up to 3 days. So, you can prepare this dish in advance and take it on the go to your office. It is perfect for office lunch or as a snack.
The Easy Recipe
Place cherry tomatoes (or regular tomatoes, diced) into a large bowl. Add a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil (about 5 tablespoons), and then add a bunch of basil leaves tearing them with your hands.
Generoully season with salt and pepper, mix well and let the mixture to rest for about 15 minutes (while you cook pasta).
Place a large pot with water over high heat. Once water starts to boil, add salt and pasta. Cook until your desired consistency (al dente, very soft, etc.).
Drain pasta and add it to the bowl with tomatoes while is still hot, this will help tomatoes to soften just a little, making the pasta a little more juicier.
Mix well and allow to reach room temperature. Add mozzarella, mix again, adjust with salt and pepper and serve.
More easy summer meals
- Tuna potato salad – Tender potatoes are tossed with canned tuna, fresh vegetables and a simple dressing.
- Salpicón – This Mexican beef salad is a healthy meal that features proteins and vegetables.
- Zesty Italian salad – Get all mediterranean flavors infusing pasta, and you can even customize it to your liking!
- Spaghetti alla Nerano – Not your traditional creamy zucchini pasta, this dish doesn’t even need cream to make it utterly scrumptious!
Pasta Alla Checca
- 11 oz spaghetti or linguine (uncooked)
- 1.1 lb ripe cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 9 oz fresh mozzarella (diced)
- a bunch of basil leaves
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Place cherry tomatoes (or regular tomatoes, diced) into a large bowl. Add extra virgin olive oil, and then add a bunch of basil leaves tearing them with your hands.
- Generoully season with salt and pepper, mix well and let the mixture to rest for about 15 minutes (while you cook pasta).
- Place a large pot with water over high heat. Once water starts to boil, add salt and pasta. Cook until your desired consistency (al dente, very soft, etc.).
- Drain pasta and add it to the bowl with tomatoes while is still hot, this will help tomatoes to soften just a little, making the pasta a little more juicier.
- Mix well and allow to reach room temperature. Add mozzarella, mix again, adjust with salt and pepper and serve.