Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pasta Alla Checca

There is a little Italian joint in West Hollywood that my parents would take me to weekly called Angeli that serves rudimentary staples like pizza, pasta, and salad at affordable prices and outstanding quality. There are three specialties that I remember fondly; pizza Quattro stagione with four toppings on an individual pie, Insalata Forte named for its garlicky dressing, and spaghetti alla checca. Checca is a sauce made of raw tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil minced finely tossed with warm pasta that effectively cooks the ingredients, rendering the dish pleasantly aromatic. Angeli was my first introduction to checca, mainly prepared in the summer time when tomatoes are at their peak, though I have made it many times since. It is a very good, fresh tasting sauce that takes about 3 minutes to make if one has a food processor or about 15 if wielding a chef’s knife. I threw one tomato into my food processor along with two cloves of garlic, a handful of fresh basil, and about a 1/4 cup of olive oil. After it was coarsely pureed into a salsa-like consistency, I tossed the sauce with some Gigli noodles (again not to be confused with the terrible 2003 film) and had myself a mean little Sunday lunch. I recommend this super simple and delicious sauce which is perfect for a quick summer meal as August approaches and heirloom tomato season hits. You can also double checca as a sauce for chicken or delicate white fish. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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