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Top Rated Checca Recipes
This fresh, easy pasta is amazing in the summer, with the classic combination of tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella in an uncooked sauce. But it can easily be made year-round to enjoy that same garlicky taste.See all tomato recipes.
Can meatloaf be made in snack-size bites? Yes. Yes it can.
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- Two Pork Chops Milanese, cooked (see recipe)
- Six slices prosciutto
- One recipe Checca
- Arugula and basil leaves for garnish
- Place one pork chop on each plate.
- Loosely fold three slices of prosciutto across the top of each chop.
- Place a heaping spoonful of the checca next to the chop, garnish with the herb leaves and serve.
Copyright © 2015 by Amy and Craig Nickoloff and West Coast Prime Meats
Recipes reprinted with permission of the owners.
In a resealable plastic bag combine the checca and chicken. Seal the bag and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and dry well on paper towels. Season all sides evenly with the salt and drizzle with the olive oil. Place the chicken on the hot grill pan, smooth side down. Cover and allow to cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook, covered, for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until an internal temperature on an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove the chicken to a plate and spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce on each breast. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the checca, bring the water and salt to a boil in a small sauce pan. Turn off the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the checca.
In a medium bowl toss together the arugula, fennel, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Divide the couscous among 4 plates. Top with a sliced chicken breast and some of the salad nestled on the side. Serve with additional checca if desired.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Adjust the racks so one is on the lower third and the second is on the upper third.
Dust the counter with flour. Working one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a 9 inch round, about 1/4 inch thick, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. On one half of the round closest to you, spread 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese leaving an inch rim around the outside.
Sprinkle the cheese with 1/4 teaspoon oregano and an 1/8 teaspoon salt. Spoon 2 tablespoons of checca down the center of the ricotta. Sprinkle with half of the pepperoni and half of the mozzarella cheese. Fold the top part of the dough over the filling. Use a little water along the edge to seal the dough together.
Beginning at one corner, fold the dough over itself and continue to do so until reaching the other corner, pressing down after each fold to secure. This will make a decorative rope effect. Alternatively, you can use the tines of a fork to gently press and seal. Place the calzone on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Using a sharp knife, make three slits in the top of each calzone. Brush evenly with the olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the parmesan cheese. Place the tray on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Rotate the tray to the top rack and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove to a wire rack and allow the calzone to cool for 5 minutes before serving with additional checca for dipping!
Pasta alla checca recipe
When people tell me they don’t know how to cook, I know what they really mean. They mean to say they don’t know how to cook well off the fly or they don’t have a deep repertoire of dishes that they can prepare with ease. I say if you can read, you can cook. Furthermore, most people can cook something they ate as a child, if nothing else. If I learned zip about cooking and never stepped foot in a kitchen after I left home, I would at least be able to make Pasta alla Checca.
I actually got a little choked up in a class last month when I reminisced about how I ate this pasta dish weekly during the summers of my youth. Pasta alla Checca is nothing more than pasta with a raw tomato and basil sauce. Sounds simple, but the success of the dish relies on the quality of the tomatoes. If you have divine tomatoes, the pasta will be fabulous. If not, it will be forgettable. Therefore, I implore you only to make this dish in the summer when tomatoes have a chance of being splendid. If you make this dish in January with pale, dreary tomatoes and email me that you don’t know why this didn’t taste like very much, I might just direct you back to this post.
We always had beautiful, tasty tomatoes and basil growing in the backyard and this was an easy weeknight dish for my mom to pull together after a day at the beach or if was too hot to do too much in the kitchen. My mom was not one for creating extra work for herself, but she always insisted on peeling the tomatoes for this dish. I have made it both ways and she is totally right — peeling the tomatoes is worth every minute of the 5 minutes it will take you. When the tomatoes are without their skins, they release more of their juices and flavors and everything just tastes so much richer and more…tomato-y! My mom used to buy that atrocious plastic-wrapped Polly-O mozzarrella, cube it and marinate it in the tomato mixture while she was cooking the pasta. When the hot pasta hit the cheese, it melted ever so slightly and yours truly would fight her sisters for it. If you decide to go this route, keep in mind the garlic cloves are crushed in the sauce and tend to look very much like melted mozzarrella, so you might want to pull out the garlic before serving.
If you are not eating tomatoes right now, you’re missing out. Even if you don’t eat pasta, make the tomato mixture and put it on top of any number of things — steamed green beans, grilled eggplant, grilled bread, poached or grilled fish or chicken. The season is short and fleeting and nothing says summer like a real sunkissed vineripened tomato. To this day, just the aroma of this tomato and basil mixture immediately makes me think summer. The good news is, you still have plenty of summer left to enjoy it.
Pasta Alla Checca Recipes
I have never tried to grow, let alone even tasted, lemon basil before. This year, I decided to chew a small leaf of one when looking for new types of herbs to plant on my patio. It's heavenly!
Well, I have always adored traditional Pasta Alla Checca but using lemon basil instead of regular sweet basil added a whole new dimension to an already wonderful and healthy pasta dish. You simply must give it a try!
Place the lentils in a large saucepan of cold water.
Bring the water just to a boil over high heat.
Carefully drain the boiling water and rinse the lentils.
Meanwhile, in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth to a boil.
Add the rice and return the liquid to a boil.
Decrease the heat to low, cover the rice, and gently simmer without stirring for 10 minutes. Stir in the lentils, onion, carrot, and celery.
Cover and continue cooking without stirring until the rice and lentils are tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes longer.
Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the corn over the rice and lentils and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover and let stand for 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃).
Spread 1 tablespoon of the oil or butter over a 10 by 4½ by 3-inch loaf pan.
In a heavy, large skillet, cook the spinach over medium heat until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.
Drain and squeeze the excess liquid from the spinach. Transfer the spinach to a work surface and coarsely chop.
In a large bowl, gently mix the lentil mixture, spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, eggs, ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, pepper, and half of the checca sauce.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange the sliced tomatoes in a row over the lentil mixture.
Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on top or dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
Bake uncovered until the loaf is heated through and the topping is melted and starting to brown, about 30 minutes.
Let cool for 15 minutes. Slice the loaf into 2-inch slices, arrange on plates, and serve with the remaining checca sauce.
Pasta Checca with Burrata
Pasta checca is something I&rsquove been eating since I was a kid, something my mom has eaten since she was a kid and probably something my grandmother grew up eating as a first generation American in an Italian household in the Bronx. Quite literally, &ldquochecca&rdquo is supposed to be an uncooked tomato sauce. Leave it to my family though to break the rules because ours has always been cooked. You might be thinking well what&rsquos the difference between this &ldquochecca&rdquo stuff then and traditional marinara but, they&rsquore nothing alike.
Checca epitomizes summer. It&rsquos freshly ripened tomatoes from the garden paired with basil begging to be used before it bolts from the heat with lots of garlic cloves and that&rsquos pretty much it. My mom cooks it entirely in a skillet on the stove in just a few minutes and it&rsquos an incredibly hands off sauce, nothing like marinara.
Because it&rsquos 2015 though and because &ldquowhen in doubt, add burrata&rdquo has become my motto for this summer, I made a few changes to my family&rsquos traditional recipe.
First of all, heirloom tomatoes. I grew tomatoes in a few pots last year but after the hornworm catepillar fiasco of 2014, I&rsquove decided I&rsquod much rather spend $4.99 for 20 ounces of packaged heirloom tomatoes than pluck disgusting fat green camouflaged worms off my plants. With two containers of the prettiest green, orange, red and striped tomatoes I&rsquove ever seen in hand, this pasta checca was already beating the traditional plum tomatoes mom usually uses before I even got to cooking.
Next up, anchovy paste. Anchovy paste is like the squeamish &ldquoew, I don&rsquot like tiny little fish packed in a can&rdquo girl&rsquos dream. No hairy fish bodies to deal with, just all the flavor already mushed up into a non-fishy looking paste. Sauteing it with the garlic, olive oil and red pepper just takes the flavor profile to the next level.
And then, of course, burrata. What dish isn&rsquot made better with the addition of a creamy ricotta + fresh mozzarella ball of pure happiness escapes my brain at the moment but I can tell you pasta checca is definitely not one of them.
Best Checca Recipes - Recipes
Bruschetta with Checca
5-6 tomatoes (I like roma or the tomatoes that still have the vine attached)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and coarsely-ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
8 oz fresh mozzarella (cut into cubes if using a whole piece, or use mozzarella pearls)
1. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and finely dice them. Add them to a medium bowl along with the olive oil, 4 minced cloves of garlic, salt and pepper. Toss the mixture and let is sit in the refrigerator at least and hour before serving, and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
2. Right before serving, cut the bread into 1/2-3/4" slices. To prepare the bruschetta, you can use a broiler, an outdoor grill, a grill pan, or justbake them in the oven. To broil: heat your broiler and place the bread on a sheet pan. Place the pan on the top rack of your oven and toast for 2 minutes on each side or until they become browned on the edges. To grill: heat your grill or grill pan until warm and then toast the sides of each piece of bread for about 2 minutes or until grill marks show. To bake: arrange the bread on a sheet pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the bread for about 10 minutes, or until they become browned on the edges.
3. Once the bread is done, immediately rub each piece with one of the halved garlic cloves.
4. Toss the tomatoes with the basil and mozzarella. Top each piece of bread with the checca.