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Make-ahead Monday: Giada's light and fresh checca sauce, 3 easy Italian dinners

It's the perfect, and perfectly easy, summer feast.
/ Source: TODAY

Summer. It's a time for fresh, light meals, that preferably require minimal time in the kitchen. That make the best use of ripe, succulent summer produce.

And here to help make the most of your days is Giada De Laurentiis, the well-known chef and the host of "Food Network Star" on the Food Network.

She'll start with checca sauce, which is an uncooked tomato sauce used mostly with pasta, but which is also multi-faceted and goes just as well with protein. It uses uncooked tomatoes, and a slew of fresh ingredients that make it sing.

"It does not get more simple or delicious than that," said De Laurentiis.

We couldn't agree more.

Giada's Checca Sauce

Giada's Checca Sauce

Giada De Laurentiis

"It's made of fresh tomatoes, parmesan cheese, garlic, scallions, basil, oil, salt and pepper."

Giada's pepperoni and cheese calzone alla checca

"This is super-easy to make and takes less than an hour total."

Giada's chicken with checca

Giada's chicken with checca

Giada De Laurentiis

"This means marinating a chicken breast in checca as well as using it in the final product."

Giada's penne with checca sauce

"This is a totally effortless recipe that your kids will go crazy for."