NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Father Jim Vlaun from the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island – the Catholic Chaplain to the New York Jets – stopped by the CBS 2 studios to cook up an Italian specialty.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe (.pdf)

Pasta Checca


  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (such as orange, red, and yellow teardrop varieties)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ cup shredded basil
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh arugula (optional)
  • ½ cup grated Grana Padana
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Cook the pasta until al dente.

2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat oil and cut tomatoes in half or quarters if large.

3. Add the garlic to frying pan making sure not to burn, after the garlic softens, add tomatoes and cook until soft, stirring and allowing a sauce to form.  Add basil and some chicken stock if necessary to create more sauce, add  arugula (if using), red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper;.

4. Drain the pasta and toss it into frying pan with the sauce.

5. Transfer to a platter and finish with drizzle of olive oil and Grana Padana.

Serve Hot! Serves 4

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