Easy Pasta Alla Checca

A bowl of pasta alla checca

Easy pasta alla checca is a healthy raw tomato sauce from Italy that’s a refreshing way to do pasta when the temperatures rise. Heat waves, record highs, sweltering nights…bring it! This delicious 30 minute meal can handle it all.

A bowl of pasta alla checca with fork

Pasta alla checca (cake-ah) is such an amazing recipe. Yes the flavors have been combined before…ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil…it’s a time honored formula. But, as with so many recipes, it’s all in the way you combine them! This raw sauce hits the spot on a hot night like nothing else.

For checca I break out the best extra virgin oil that I hoard hide store at the back of the cupboard, and a box of spaghetti. Skip the angel hair, please! Even though you often see this dish made with it, I think it’s too fine and becomes a mushy lump no matter how carefully you cook it. Regular spaghetti works perfectly.

chopped tomatoes, basil, and garlic for making pasta alla checca

I like to cut the tomatoes first, before I even start the pasta water boiling. This way the juices have time to get flowing.

The more fresh tomato juice you can coax out of your tomatoes the better…along with olive oil and garlic it becomes a light sauce that trickles down the strands of the warm pasta and makes a heavenly meal.

ripe tomatoes in a bowl with basil for pasta alla checca

A little raw garlic is part of the charm of a checca sauce, but don’t add too much. And be sure to finely mince it. I like to add it to the tomatoes as they sweat it out on the counter so it has a chance to mellow and mingle.

a bowl of steaming spaghetti for pasta alla checca

Note: The recipe instructions say to toss the pasta with the tomatoes, etc. But you can also put the pasta in a bowl or bowls and just top with the sauce, it’s up to you. This makes a nice presentation if you’re serving to guests.

If you’re entertaining, pair Pasta Alla Checca with a loaf of crusty garlic bread, salad, and a light pinot grigio or rosé wine.

A bowl of pasta alla checca with a fork

Pasta alla Checca pin

There are so many ways to use raw tomatoes when they’re at their peak. I love to make bruschetta, for instance, which is a lot like this checca sauce. You’ll finely dice fresh tomatoes and let them sit to allow the juices to release, then instead of adding them to pasta, you’ll pile them on grilled bread. So good!

heirloom tomato bruschetta on a white surface

Another raw tomato recipe is my Farmer’s Market Hummus ~ I like to use cherry tomatoes for this one, but the concept is the same…chop them up and encourage the juices to mingle with the creamy hummus. Yum!

Hummus topped with cherry tomatoes, basil, and pine nuts for a delicious Farmers Market Hummus

And of course the mother of all raw tomato dishes is the versatile Caprese Salad. These refreshing recipes take the sting out of scorching temps, I hope you try them all, and stay cool 🙂

heirloom caprese salad in a white bowl

A bowl of pasta alla checca
4.07 from 15 votes

Pasta Alla Checca

Easy pasta alla checca is a healthy raw tomato sauce from Italy that's a refreshing way to do pasta when the temperatures rise.  Heat waves, record highs, sweltering nights...bring it!   This delicious 30 minute meal can handle it all.
Course Main Course, pasta
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 3-4 cups chopped ripe tomatoes more if you like
  • 2-3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for tossing the pasta.
  • splash of balsamic or other vinegar optional
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper


  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • basil leaves


  • Add the garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil to the tomatoes and let sit, loosely covered, on the counter. You can add a splash of balsamic vinegar for extra flavor, if you like.
  • Cook the pasta in plenty of well salted water just to the al dente stage, don't over cook. Drain and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
  • Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if desired.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with grated Parmesan and basil leaves.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make it your own ~

  • Make it with cherry or heirloom tomatoes.
  • Make it with mozzarella ~ toss fresh chopped or pearl mozzarella into the pasta along with the tomatoes.
  • Make it more flavorful ~ checca is a very mildly flavored sauce, if you want more pizazz, add olives, marinated artichoke hearts, toasted pine nuts, or even feta cheese.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Erika Atkinson
    May 31, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    I don’t see in the instructions where it says to add the balsamic vinegar? Do you just splash it on at the end?

  • Reply
    Ruth Justice
    September 24, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Do you think this would be good with sauted eggplant added to the dish?

    • Reply
      September 24, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Definitely, eggplant would fit right in!

  • Reply
    Carla Barry
    July 15, 2018 at 11:26 am

    5 stars
    I made this the other night when my kitchen was too hot turn on the oven. This recipe is a keeper, my husband loved it! I used a medley of heirloom tomatoes and added some Greek olives as in your suggestions. The result was a flavorful,fresh,delicious dish. Thanks so much for the great recipe.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

    As a total carb-craver and pasta fiend, this is what I’d choose to eat all summer long – looking forward to the sweet
    and amazing late season Jersey tomatoes we get here.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    July 10, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    This is my kind of summer pasta, and perfect for these hot July nights!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    I made that recipe a lot when I lived in Northern Virginia and had “real” tomatoes. The sweet, juicy, red tomatoes that I grew or my CSA gave me. And now I live on the west coast of Florida and you just can’t grow decent tomatoes here. That’s one of our greatest losses in leaving the middle Atlantic. That and lilacs!

    • Reply
      July 9, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      I feel for you Alene, at least about the lilacs…we can’t get them here in Los Angles either, it’s such a loss. When I visit my Dad in Florida I’m surprised at the lack of good produce.

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    July 9, 2018 at 5:17 am

    I love the idea of raw tomato sauce…perfect for the hot summer days.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    July 9, 2018 at 4:55 am

    Such a great warm weather pasta recipe! Love all these fresh flavours. And carbs, too 🙂

    • Reply
      July 9, 2018 at 6:37 am

      You gotta have a few carbs, right??

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    July 9, 2018 at 3:50 am

    If we ever get some tomatoes from our garden this year, I’m making this lovely dish. So much rain early in summer, turned into scorching heat – I think the tomatoes are going to be very late this season. Love this simple dish with all these wonderful flavors.

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