Checca Sauce ♭

I was first served Checca (pronounced KEK-ka) at Stoney Point Restaurant near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Served in the form of a crostini, it is the first course of every meal they have served there since 1994. Camilla and I frequented Stoney Point for many years before this, as it presented one of the finest dining experiences in the Los Angeles area. It improved even more when Amadeo Constantino bought it and made it the sensation it is today. It has won numerous awards for its Continental cuisine and is known for its tranquil atmosphere and outstanding service. Some of its wait staff have been there over 40 years.

Checca sauce is a preparation of Italian origin typically made with fresh ripe uncooked tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. It is commonly served in the summer in pasta dishes, bruschetta, and crostini. Bruschetta (pronounced broos-KET-ta, not broosh-etta!) is made by toasting whole, wide slices of a rustic Italian or sourdough type bread, whereas, crostini are toasted slices of a smaller, round, finer-textured bread.

The recipe below is a salt-free, lower-fat version of the sauce, presented as an accompaniment of crostini. Enjoy!

  • 12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 oz Asiago cheese, grated
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 24 Melba toast rounds

Combine all ingredients except the Melba toast rounds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse at a lower setting a few times until the tomatoes are of a chopped consistency (not puréed). Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature at least 2 hours, or as long as 10 hours.

Spread half-ounce portions of the sauce on the toast rounds and serve immediately.

Refrigerate any leftover sauce for a later midnight snack.

Makes 24 servings.