So simple, but so delicious the mix of fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced garlic, and olive oil create a brag-worthy sauce made sublime by the addition of creamy burrata cheese.
A traditional pasta dish that comes from Rome, pasta alla checca (pronounced "kheh-kah") is a recipe often served during warmer weather when people are eating alfresco with abandon.
At its most simple, pasta alla checca is a no cook pasta sauce made by combining a few key ingredients: fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and olive oil. The best versions of this pasta have top quality ingredients and they're all full of flavor so it tastes almost like an amazing Caprese salad got tossed together with pasta.
But too often it's flavorless because it's made with not great tomatoes, doesn't have enough sauce, or is just not executed well. We set out to right all those wrongs with this recipe.
The key to this pasta is restraint. As in you only want to make it when you have ah-mazing tomatoes. Then you let the tomatoes really, really marinate so their flavor is maximized. And finally it's all topped off with some super fresh cheese, like a really awesome burrata cheese.
This recipe is delicious as is but is ripe for variations. Here are a few ways we like to mix it up:
plus more for seasoning
such as rigatoni, campanelle, conchiglie, or orrecchiette
cut into 4 to 6 pieces
Make The No Cook Tomato Sauce: 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.
Boil The Pasta: 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.)
Serve The Pasta: 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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