This healthy & hearty pasta pomodoro will become your go-to weeknight dinner! The creamy sauce is bursting with tangy tomato flavor.
Is there anything better than creamy pasta? How about creamy tomato pasta! I’m so excited about this pasta pomodoro recipe because it is basically everything I want to eat for dinner any night of the week. Big, hearty rigatoni noodles are coated in a tangy, luscious creamy tomato sauce. Plus, it’s a healthy bowl of pasta because there are quite a few yummy sautéed vegetables mixed in here as well.
This post is in partnership with Mutti Tomatoes, Italy’s #1 tomato brand, which is perfect timing because we are really craving summer food over here… even though it’s only April and summer is still a while away. Thanks to Mutti, we can dream of Italian summer nights with their fresh-tasting 100% Italian tomatoes, which are picked at their peak ripeness and packed with only a pinch of sea salt.
This recipe starts with my go-to Marinara sauce. Aside from using it to make the creamy pasta sauce in this final recipe, it’s a simple, quick pantry-based recipe that you should keep in your back pocket. It’s delicious on pasta, pizza, or even spaghetti squash. Everyone needs a basic marinara recipe and this one is mine.
Creamy Pasta Pomodoro
Now to make marinara just a little bit more exciting… we’re blending it into a creamy pasta sauce! Oh, and I forgot to mention, we’re not using cream or cheese… but no one has to know that. To make the creamy pomodoro sauce, simply blend the marinara with cashews and tomato paste.
For this recipe I use Mutti Double Concentrated Tomato Paste. This is not any ordinary tomato paste – this tomato paste is so wonderful because it comes in a tube instead of a tiny can! I often like to use just a little bit of tomato paste to dramatically punch up flavors in sauces and soups. It’s SO convenient to be able to use a tablespoon and store the rest (it lasts a really long time) without having to make use of an entire can.
Because this is a vegetable blog, I like to serve my pasta with equal parts vegetable. Zucchini, spinach, arugula, fresh thyme, and Mutti Cherry Tomatoes make this creamy pasta pomodoro light and fresh.
Take a look at that creamy sauce!
If you love this pasta pomodoro recipe…
Check out this post for more vegan recipes, then try one of these favorite pasta recipes:
- Best Vegetarian Lasagna
- Easy Pesto Pasta
- Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Easy Baked Ziti
- Lemon Linguine with Tomatoes
- Fettuccine Alfredo with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
For more easy dinner ideas, check out this post!
Creamy Pasta Pomodoro
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely minced shallot
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon cane sugar
- Pinch of dried oregano
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Creamy Tomato Sauce
- Marinara recipe, from above
- ¼ cup raw cashews* (see note)
- ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup pasta water
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt
For the pasta
- 10 ounces rigatoni
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 14-ounce cans Mutti Cherry Tomatoes, drained
- 6 cups spinach or mix of spinach & arugula
- ¼ cup chopped parsley or sliced basil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Make the marinara sauce: Heat the olive oil in a small pot over low heat. Add the shallot, garlic, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomatoes and their juices, balsamic vinegar, cane sugar, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Make the creamy sauce: Add the marinara to a blender with the cashews, tomato paste, salt, and ¼ cup of water. Blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to use. Before serving, stir in ¼ cup hot pasta cooking water to loosen it up so that it’ll nicely coat the pasta.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions or until al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, heat generous drizzles of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, thyme, and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes or until heated through. Add the spinach and gently toss until wilted. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
- Scoop the pasta into individual bowls, add scoops of the creamy sauce, and toss to coat. Distribute the vegetables among the bowls and top with parsley and or basil. Season to taste and serve.
This post is in partnership with Mutti.