This pasta sauce recipe comes from my family’s cookbook (a collection of recipes that was put together in 1996), specifically from Aunt “C.” It is a perfect sauce for summer, when tomatoes and basil are at their very best. Our tomato season is in high gear right now, so I couldn’t wait to make this sauce. I may even go back to the farmers market next weekend for more!
Pasta alla Checca
Source: The DePalma Cousins Cookbook (Aunt “C”)
6 large tomatoes (very sweet and ripe!)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn or shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional, but I always use it)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese or cubed fresh mozzarella cheese (optional) – I didn’t have either of these cheeses on hand, so I threw in about 1/4 cup grated sharp provolone
1-2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced (I omitted these)
Peel and dice the fresh tomatoes. To peel them, cut an X through the skin on the bottom “pole” of each tomato. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with cold water. Reduce the water to a simmer and blanch the tomatoes briefly (1-2 minutes) or until the skin starts to peel away. Remove the tomatoes to the bowl of cold water to “shock” them. After they have cooled enough to handle, remove them from the bowl of cold water and peel the skin off. Then remove the cores and dice the tomatoes. Put into a large bowl along with the other ingredients. Let sit for at least an hour (this step is very important to develop the flavors). Toss with your favorite cooked and drained pasta (I prefer Rotini or Fusili).