Need a recipe that is healthy, tasty and takes 15 minutes to make? Try our go-to, Pasta alla Checca.
Tomato, basil, parmesan and garlic is the classic combination of flavors that makes up this savory pasta dish, and it always just feels like summer to us. The first time I remember making this was with ingredients harvested from a garden plot my roommates and I planted in an adjacent open lot to our rental house in California. That was about 30 years ago, and it’s still a regular visitor to our dinner table today.
The ruby red tomatoes and bright green basil, which we plucked from the garden just prior to making this simple dish, join with the garlic to perfume the whole kitchen during preparation.
Despite Pasta alla Checca’s status as a long-time fave, we had to go and tinker with it. Since we’re watching our carbs, we decided to mix it up and use “zoodles” instead of the traditional fettuccine or thin spaghetti.
Zoodles, if you don’t know, are zucchini cut with a spiral slicer to approximate noodles. It’s a decent pasta substitute that puts some veggies on your plate in place of carbs. And when they’re in the company of stellar flavors like basil and parmesan, how can they go wrong?
Making Zoodles alla Checca: It couldn’t be easier
One reason this dish is such a favorite is because it’s so easy to make. You will have to boil water, then dunk the zoodles in it for a few minutes, but that’s about it. The rest goes in a spacious pasta bowl and gets tossed with the other ingredients, along with salt and pepper to your taste, and dinner is served. We sometimes microwave the garlic in some of the olive oil for 30 seconds or so to tame the raw garlic flavor, but that’s your choice.
The new version of the dish still reminds me of that garden plot and the special friends I gardened and cooked with, and how it filled the kitchen with the same bright perfume of basil and garlic. As a standout side dish, or just as easily a delicious vegetarian main course, this dish will not disappoint.