Checca sauce is a wonderful no cook Italian sauce that is served over pasta in the warmer months in Italy. This simple pasta all checca is loaded with flavor from the fresh tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil, garlic and herbs and it is finished off with some Parmigiano Reggiano. This easy no cook tomato sauce is the best way to enjoy pasta when it is warm outside and it is so delicious.
When the weather starts to get warmer, I am not ready to give up on my pasta dishes and apparently neither are the Italians all over Italy! To make sure they can enjoy pasta all year, they came up with this no cook tomato sauce called alla checca. They add it to their favorite pasta and I promise, it is just as good as a classic pasta sauce.
Pasta all checca takes advantage of the fresh in season tomatoes and herbs and marries it with delicious Italian olive oil and cheese. It is so fresh and light and the perfect summertime meal!
This pasta all checca is one of my go to summer pasta recipes that I always make because t makes use of summer fruits and veggies. If I am not making this, I will be making my Caprese pasta salad , veggie meat sauce (with in season veggies) or my pesto pasta.
Fresh summer flavor should be put to good use and this checca sauce does just that!
Pasta all checca
The idea behind this pasta all checca is believed to have started in the late 1950 in Italy. Honestly, I think this type of cooking has occurred all over Italy forever. Checca sauce is the same as pasta fredda which means cold pasta in Italian.
Pasta all checca can be served cold or at room temperature and depending on where you are in Italy, some people call it pasta all checca and some call this dish pasta fredda.
Checca sauce ingredients
Checca sauce is so simple to make because there is no cooking other than the pasta. The key to a really good checca sauce is to add everything to one bowl and give the ingredients a little time to sit together so all the flavors marry together.
Here is what you need:
- Fresh tomatoes. When making a checca sauce, finding the freshest tomatoes you can is so important.
- Fresh basil. This is a classic Italian combination with tomatoes and really makes the checca sauce delicious.
- Garlic. Like all the other recipe ingredients, you want to use fresh garlic.
- Fresh herbs. I love adding some fresh Italian parsely and garlic chives to my checca sauce because I grow that in my garden and it adds more freshness to the sauce. This is optional.
- Olives. Olives add a nice briny salty bite to the checca sauce. This is optional too but if you have them, use them!
- Olive oil. Olive oil is the base to the sauce and what will bind all of the ingredients together.
- Kosher salt and pepper.
- Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano. For topping the pasta alla checca.
How to make
Making this checca sauce could not be any simpler. Here is what it looks like to make the checca sauce and adding it to pasta for pasta all checca:
- You are going to start off by prepping and chopping all of the ingredients for the checca sauce. Once you do that, just add them to a large bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well.
- I like to let the checca sauce ingredients sit together for about 30 minutes but you do not need to let it sit for that long if you are short on time. After you prepare the checca sauce all you have to do is cook your pasta to al dente and then drain it.
- Add the hot pasta to the bowl with the checca sauce and toss well. Once the pasta hits the fresh checca sauce it will cool off the pasta and it will be at room temperature.
- You can either serve it immediately this way or allow it to cool completely and chill it and serve it fredda style or cold.
- Do not forget to serve the pasta alla checca with copious amounts of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the side so people can add that to their pasta.
TIP: Checca sauce can be added to pasta like I did here but it can also be served on its own and used as a topping for garlic crostini or any other good crusty bread.
This pasta alla checca is perfect the way it is but it is meant to be customized based on what is fresh. This is how the Italians do it and so should you.
Here are some variations:
- Use fresh cubed mozzarella instead of the Parmesan. Many Italian like to make pasta alla checca with fresh mozzarella. It is a great combination.
- Add canned Italian tuna to the pasta. Italians love their canned tuna in olive oil and adding that to the checca sauce makes the meal more substantial.
- Add your favorite fresh Italian herbs to the dish. The more fresh ingredients the better!
- Add a little heat. If you like a little spice, add a little red pepper flakes to the checca sauce. It is delicious this way.
Here are some of our favorite things to serve with this easy Italian pasta:
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- 1 lb Pasta penne, ziti, spaghetti or your favorite pasta shape.
- 6 fresh tomatoes quartered then halved.
- 1 tablespoon Fresh garlic 3-4 cloves minced
- ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup fresh basil coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh chives and Italian parsley chopped- optional
- ¼ cup Italian olives pitted and coarse chopped
- ¼ cup Parmesan freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Add all of the checca sauce ingredients to a large bowl.6 fresh tomatoes, 1 tablespoon Fresh garlic, ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup fresh basil, ¼ cup fresh chives and Italian parsley, ¼ cup Italian olives, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Let sit for at least 15 minutes but up to 1 hour.
- Cook the pasta until al dente according to the manufacturers instructions.1 lb Pasta
- Drain pasta once cooked then add it to the bowl with checca sauce.
- Mix well.
- Serve immediately with fresh Parmesan.¼ cup Parmesan
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here