An easy and colorful pasta salad with loads of fresh raw ingredients.
Pasta alla Checca originally is a straight forward Italian pasta dish with a “raw” sauce consisting of fresh, uncooked tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. A Caprese Salad of sorts but then with pasta.
It’s really as simple as that and therefore ideal for parties and summer dinners. My version is a bit more elaborate as I made the sauce by tossing cherry tomatoes, capers, green olives, basil, parsley, mozzarella balls, chili, garlic, and olive oil together.
Due to the bright and bold flavors, the sauce would also work very well with spiralized raw courgette, bringing an extra crunch to the dish. If you want a slightly creamier texture, just add a couple of tablespoons of fresh ricotta before serving.
Instead of using cooled down pasta to make a salad, this time I used the sauce to coat still warm fresh spaghetti and added a couple of tablespoons of the reserved cooking water to make a lukewarm pasta dish.
The recipe (serves 4 as dinner)
- 400g /13oz fresh spaghetti (or 300g/11oz dried)
- 250g /10oz cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed well
- 125g / 4oz green olives, destoned and quartered
- 1 red chili, finely chopped
- 1 ball of mozzarella (125g/4oz), torn in rough pieces
- 5 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- a handful of basil leaves
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the fresh pasta for 2-3 minutes until al dente (or 1 minute less than the pack instructions if using dried pasta).
- In the meantime, mix the tomatoes, garlic, capers, olives, chili, mozzarella and oil together in a bowl.
- Reserving 1 ladle of the cooking water, drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the tomato mixture, add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved cooking water
- Season well, mix in the herbs and serve.