Giada’s Checca Sauce

I like to do this thing where I pretend that chefs on TV and fellow bloggers are my friends :).  My husband knows that I love looking for new recipes and every time we eat something new he asks whom I got the recipe from.  I simply respond, “Giada” (or “Rachael”, “HEAB”, “Mama Pea”, “Mel’s Kitchen Café”…you get the point) as if they are my friends.  Although I have never actually met any of these people in real life, I still consider them my ‘friends’ because I consider anyone who shares a great recipe with me my friend.

I love me some Food Network and could sit and watch it all day long.  Whenever I’m home, my mom and I frequently have it on in the background and we love to send each other recipes of delicious recipes we saw being made by our ‘friends’ (Paula, Giada, Ina, Rachael, Aarti, Bobby, etc.) on TV.

Living abroad for the past five years has meant that I rarely get to watch the Food Network anymore (unless I want to get up at 6 am to watch the one or two shows the air per day).  I did spend four months living in Oklahoma between living in Peru and moving to Japan and I’m pretty sure I DVR’d about 10 episodes of Food Network shows per day (in addition to the ones I watched live)!  I couldn’t get enough of it.  Each time I go home, Food Network is the first thing I turn to and usually the only thing I watch.  Needless to say, I love it.

When I moved to Japan, I was really missing the Food Network, but quickly discovered the world of food blogs.  Judging by the fact that I decided to start my own, you can probably guess that food bloggers have gained a special place in my heart—right next to my friends from the Food Network.  I religiously read a handful of food blog everyday and can easily get lost in the world of food blogs.

My friends over at the Food Network have not been replaced though.  Luckily I have a few of their cookbooks amongst my large cookbook collection and I find myself turning to them again and again.  Although I don’t get to see these recipes being made on TV, they rarely disappoint.

The recipe I’m featuring today is from Giada’s cookbook called Everyday Italian.  Amanda got this cookbook for me for my birthday a few years at a Food and Wine Festival.  Do you want to know the best part?  It’s signed by Giada!  “To Kristen—XO Giada”.  See, we’re practically best friends ;).

I’m sharing this recipe with you because it’s a fabulous way to make a light and refreshing meal using freshly grown tomatoes.  I made this the other night and my husband and I both loved it.  I didn’t tweak a thing because it’s a-maz-ing as is!!

And to preface this recipe in the words of Giada, “There’s just no point in making Checca Sauce at all if the tomatoes aren’t at their peak of ripeness”.  Enjoy!

Please excuse that it looks messy...I was too excited to eat it to transfer it to a serving platter.

Checca Sauce

*Recipe from Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentiis


  • 8 ounces spaghettini or angel hair pasta
  • 4 scallions (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed*
  • 1 (12-ounce container) cherry tomatoes, halved**
  • 1 (1-ounce) piece Parmesan, coarsely chopped
  • 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the next 7 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped (do not puree).

Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture and fresh mozzarella in a large bowl. Add some of the reserved pasta water (about 1/4 cup) if the sauce looks dry (I didn’t need to do this). Serve immediately.

*The garlic pieces stay pretty big—they are easy to pull out this way if you don’t like eating big chunks of garlic.  I might try mincing the garlic next time.

**I used two large ripe tomatoes from the farmer’s market that I cut into big chunks before putting into the food processor.

Question: Do you use recipes or do you make up your recipes in your head?  Where do you like to find your recipes?



Filed under Main Courses, Pasta

4 responses to “Giada’s Checca Sauce

  1. i read several food blogs (and by read, i mean look at the pictures). i get inspired by the recipes, but i rarely follow them. I just look and then make something up in my head. there are so many great ideas that i intend to try that i had to start saving them, so i started a pin board that i can refer to whenever i feel like it:

    p.s. i’m adding this one to my pin board!

    • I love the idea of making a pin board because then you can see pictures of the recipes. I have mine all bookmarked, but I think my bookmarks are a little out of control…..I just can’t stop 🙂 Thanks for adding this recipe!

  2. judy cummings

    I get my recipes wherever I can…… I get a LOT of them from the Food Network, but sometimes when I want to make something I google what I am looking for and choose from the source that looks the best…. I also find recipes in newspapers, magazines, at summertime fairs that feature a particular food, and especially from friends… I must admit – I MOSTLY follow recipes, but take whatever liberties I feel would work for me. I love to watch the FoodNetwork, but find it habit forming, so I sometimes have to slap my hand and turn it off, so I can get other things done. One of my problems is that I print out a ton of recipes and I use the full page format, so I have binders full of recipes. Whenever there is a photo that accompanies the recipe I print it…… You know – sometimes you can find a video of a given recipe – at least on the FoodNetwork….. You know – it is really heartwarming to see you do so much cooking and to love it so, because when you were little I was afraid you were not going to take an interest in cooking!!!! How WRONG I was!!!! Oh yes – I TRY to make only enough food for one meal unless I know I want to freeze some for later. IF I have leftovers I love to get really creative with them. That is the time that I do not use a recipe. I just put things together – often using the wok. This is when it is good to have lots of onions, garlic, brown rice, broth, etc. on hand to complete a meal of leftovers either as an integral part or as a supplement. I like pasta, but never cook it. I worry about the calories.

    • That’s funny that you were worried I wouldn’t take an interest in cooking! As you know, I love love love it and it’s all thanks to you and all of your delicious meals. I don’t think there is anything wrong with following a recipe….lots of people “follow” recipes and the food still doesn’t come out well. Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right because everything you make is always amazing!

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