There is nothing that transports me to Italy faster than a really well done pasta alla checca. At its most simple, it's just marinated tomatoes tossed with fresh pasta but so often it's flavorless. The key is only making it when you have ah-mazing tomatoes, letting the tomatoes really, really marinate, and taking it over the top with some super fresh cheese, like a really awesome burrata cheese.
plus more for seasoning
such as rigatoni, campanelle, conchiglie, or orrecchiette
cut into 4 to 6 pieces
Combine the diced tomatoes, tomato juice, oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if you don’t like spicy and up to 3 teaspoons if you do) in a large nonreactive bowl. Stir gently to coat well, and let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.
When the tomatoes are ready, tear the basil leaves into bite-sized pieces and stir into the tomato mixture. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook according to the package directions. (If the tomatoes have not let off a lot of juice, reserve 1/2 cup / 120 ml of the pasta cooking water before draining.)
Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta cooking water (as needed) and parsley and stir to mix. Add the tomato mixture, and stir to combine. (If using mozzarella, stir it in here.) Taste and season with salt and additional pepper flakes, as desired.
Divide the pasta into individual bowls, top each with some of the burrata cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt, and serve.
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