Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

This healthy & hearty pasta pomodoro will become your go-to weeknight dinner! The creamy sauce is bursting with tangy tomato flavor.

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

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

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.

How to make Pasta Pomodoro

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.

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro ingredients

Take a look at that creamy sauce!

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

If you love this pasta pomodoro recipe…

Check out this post for more vegan recipes, then try one of these favorite pasta recipes:

For more easy dinner ideas, check out this post!

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

rate this recipe:
4.97 from 30 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves 4
Creamy pasta pomodoro is a quick and easy weeknight meal. Hearty rigatoni pasta noodles are coated in a tangy, luscious tomato sauce.


Basic marinara

  • 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
  • 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.


*If you're not using a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix, soak the cashews for 2+ hours to make a creamier sauce. Drain before adding to the recipe. 

This post is in partnership with Mutti. 



Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Hannah

    I love to make tikka masala with cherry tomatoes! Yum!

  2. GK

    I love roasting tomatoes with garlic and spreading it on some fresh bread with a little bit of fresh basil – amazing! Also love adding tomato paste to almost anything to bring a great depth of flavor.

  3. Lynn

    Simple dishes like this are the best! I love tossing roasted cherry tomatoes with a little penne, good olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and a lot of parmesan…simple but tasty!

  4. Linda

    I love to make stuffed heirloom tomatoes. I use quinoa, cauliflower rice, and ground turkey. (I use a port wine with oregano and basil to kick the “stuffing” up a notch)

  5. Nicole

    YUMMMM. Can’t wait to make it! And I just had the stomach flu so that is saying a LOT. Ha! I just started making fresh caprese salad again – my favorite summer side dish!

  6. Amanda

    I love making all kinds of dishes with tomatoes – soups and stews, pasta bakes, salads … pretty much any recipe that calls for tomatoes, I will happily oblige!

  7. CJ

    Tomato sorbet with basalmic vinegar! The best!!

  8. Michelle

    A big batch of pasta sauce – especially my version that uses tons of shredded veggies that I then blitz with the immersion blender. Good quality tomatoes & a little paste are a must.

  9. Arianna

    I love tomatoes! Lately, I’ve been really into making tomato-based stews with chickpeas and vegetables. My favorite combination right uses roasted eggplant, fresh spinach, harissa, and lots of lemon!

  10. JoAnn

    My favorite thing to make with tomatoes is homemade restaurant style salsa!

  11. Ayelet

    As a 30 year long vegetarian I often run out of dinner ideas and Love your help and inspiration . Until late into my twenties, I refused to touch anything that had tomatoes in it. I went to a friend’s parents for dinner and they served lasagna. I had to have some for fear of being rude and Holly Thunders my mind was blown away. I since eat everything tomato in order to make up for lost time.
    BTW most recently used both canned and paste to make Shakshuka! Amazing.

  12. When tomatoes are in season, there’s nothing better than a simple caprese salad, especially one with a little twist, like adding slice of watermelon or peaches with fresh mint.

  13. Sabrina from

    haven’t had this dish (or one near it) in awhile, love the cashew creaminess! Great creative way to add some flavor, thank you

  14. Kristine

    Oh thank you this sounds awesome! I usually eat pasta every day and your recipes keep it fresh, delicious and interesting. My fav tomato recipe is with edamame and corn. Toss with halved cherry tomatoes and a vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, shallots, salt and pepper. Let sit for at least an hour. Sometimes I marinate the tomatoes first then toss all together. Top with fresh basil and you have the perfect light yet satisfying summer lunch or dinner!

  15. Tanja

    I love to make fresh pasta sauce, and minestrone soup from tomatoes. Would love to win!

  16. Kathy K.

    I love roasting cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves in a little olive oil, then serving them over pasta swirled with fresh pesto and topped with grated Parmesan.

    I’m just starting to use raw cashews in sauces and look forward to making your recipe in the next day or two!

  17. Maiteeny

    Recently discovered your blog and it’s a breath of fresh air! My favorite tomato recipes are probably shakshuka and tomato soup. Just planted my tomatoes in the garden and I can’t wait to harvest them and smash some onto some grainy toast with salt and pepper.

  18. Nina

    Hi, do you have any idea how much 6 cups of spinach and rocket weighs in grams or ounces? Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Nina, I don’t but I would just take two or three big handfuls 🙂

  19. Vikki Steinrauf

    We use tomatoes all the time. We have Italian at least twice a week. And we have Mexican a lot and all of my Mexican has tomatoes too. Carne Guisada can’t be made with out tomatoes. Nor can you make red enchilada sauce without tomatoes. I go thru can after can of tomatoes. It’s like our most used vegetable. No week goes by without them.

  20. Renee Cowan

    I love to make a simply gravy of tomatoes, onions, and garlic, but I’m really excited to try THIS recipe and hope I win!!!

  21. Cathy

    Cannot wait to make this!!

    When tomatoes are in season, I make David Lebovitz’s fresh tomato tart. It is summer on a plate.

  22. Jody Stewart

    I love to make a quick refreshing tomato and baby cucumber salad with Campari tomatoes that I quarter and sliced cukes tossed with a bit of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Occasionally I lol thinly slice some sweet onion for a bit of a kick. This is a quick go to salad to serve with the entree. Delicious!

  23. 5 stars
    I love to make pasta salad, pasta fagioli, veggie spaghetti etc. The list goes on and on. I love tomatoes!

  24. amanda

    5 stars
    in summer I LOVE orzo salad with grape tomatoes or a good old tomato sandwich!
    This recipe looks fabulous!

  25. Cynthia

    I just made vegan eggplant roll ups., The extra marinara sauce, filling and eggplant slabs made a small pan of lasagna. I will be trying your marinara next time.

    Love your new cookbook!

  26. Martina Roy

    5 stars
    This is very really unique helpful information. keep it up. Thank you so much!

  27. Dana

    Love making gazpacho with summer tomatoes!

  28. Lish

    Grilled cheese sandwiches with heirloom tomatoes!

  29. Shira

    Nothing beats a fresh tomato just picked from our garden with a bit of salt sprinkled on top!

  30. Annie C

    I adore tomato, basil and raw zucchini sandwiches with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper, dried pepperoncini and sea salt on handmade olive bread

  31. Marianne

    I’m a chef at a little general store upstate NY and I make all the prepared foods (soups, salads, main dishes, desserts, etc.). One thing I do is make individual tomato galettes with a flaky pastry—a slick of mustard on the bottom, whole cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil mixed with pesto, and a bit of parmesan. The tomatoes burst a little in a hot oven and they’re soooo good! I also make a gigante bean salad with roasted tomatoes and a sauteed leek-shallot vinaigrette. Thanks for this recipe!

  32. Maura

    Salsa and brushetta!

  33. Olivia

    My family’s recipe for “Pasta Pink Sauce” aka penne with a vodka sauce!

  34. SM

    I love doing Avocado toast w/ cherry tomatoes

  35. Heather

    This looks so yummy – I can’t wait to make it! I love to make bruschetta, fresh pasta sauces and of course pico de gallo!

  36. Roberto

    My mother made a simple tomato salad with fresh ripe plum tomatoes, salt, mint spezzato, and good olive oil.

  37. Rachel Joy

    I LOVE tomato sauce with pasta, all varieties, creamy with cheese or cream, basic with just garlic, full of veggies, and even with meatballs. Yum, tomatoes are the best! Oh and don’t get me started on salsa! Yum! This recipe looks great and I’m glad to have a good new brand of tomatoes to try. Thank you! Do you need to soak the cashews if you have a regular blender?

  38. Morgan

    Tomato sandwiches and caprese salad if they are fresh. Love chili and minestrone for canned! Would love to try these products!

  39. Nicole

    I looove the idea of tomato paste in a tube instead of a can. So much more practical! My current go-to tomato sauce is here: BUT the shallot and balsamic vinegar touches in this make me really want to branch out and try yours.

    My favorite way to use tomatoes is either 1.) shakshuka or 2.) simply roasting a batch of halved cherry tomatoes and adding them to just about anything.

  40. Dani

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! Substituted arugula for the spinach since that’s what I had on hand and it was great

  41. Annette

    5 stars
    I love to make soup and spaghetti sauce with tomatoes.

  42. Sheryl Hilbert

    I love using fresh, homegrown tomatoes in vegetable soup. Yummmm

  43. Lizzy

    I love sundried tomato pesto!!

  44. Kate S.

    I also love making a tomato pasta sauce, and I will for sure be trying this one. Also most soups are perfect with canned tomatoes!!!

  45. Phyllis

    Just to be clear, I do have a blender, just not a new high speed one for nuts, smoothies, etc.

  46. Jeanine Donofrio

    Hi Phyllis, I used a high powered blender (a Vitamix), which purees the nuts. Some testers of mine have made make cashew cream recipes by blending for a little bit longer or soaking ahead of time. Thanks for your feedback, I’ll add the soaking suggestion to the notes. Depending on your blender, white beans (or regular cream) might work better.

    • Phyllis

      Hi Jeanine,
      Thanks for these tips. We are gluten- and dairy-free, so subbing white beans might be a good alternative. We’ll definitely be trying this recipe again. 😀 And thanks for all your creative recipes.

  47. Sara Ramirez

    I love tomatoes! I love to make my pasta sauce from scratch and I use about 8 tomatoes for it 🙂

  48. Maureen Flanagan

    This is absolutely delicious – and beautiful! I made the sauce one day ahead so all I had to do was cook the pasta and the veggies and serve. This is going to be a regular at our house.

  49. Shoshana Rose

    Is it too simple to say caprese salads? Nothing says summer to me more than fresh tomatoes with mozzarella and basil. Yum!!

  50. eve

    Marcella Hazan’s simple onion, butter and tomato sauce. So easy!

  51. Shirley

    Tomato and corn salad. A Bon Appetit recipe and love making it when fresh corn becomes available at my local farmer’s market!

  52. Lindsay

    Love bruschetta made with fresh cherry tomatoes!!

  53. Madeleine

    Fresh Tomato soup by roasting tomatoes and red peppers. Absolutely delicious!

  54. Lina

    One of my faves is roasting baby tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Finish with a splash of balsamic, then mix with cooked pasta and top with toasted pine nuts.

  55. Jen

    I love the versatility of tomatoes… crisp and fresh on a sandwich or salad, broiled lightly on toast with cheese, or divinely cooked with some lovely parmigiana on top.

  56. Elussa

    Love roasted cherry tomatoes

  57. Anonymous Essay

    5 stars
    This is so delicious I love it~
    Thanks for sharing!

  58. Terri

    5 stars
    My results are better if I soak my cashews in water for a few hours first. I’ve used the leftover sauce from the recipe in a tofu-based cannelloni recipe the next day and it was excellent. I think the creamy sauce recipe can be doubled and stored in a mason jar in the fridge for up to a week for a couple of quick-fix weeknight meals.

  59. Anna

    Are you supposed to add the garlic clove whole to the marinara sauce or dice it like the shallot?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Minced – thanks for pointing that out!

  60. Jessica

    5 stars
    The sauce is unbelieveable!! Great recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  61. Yvonne

    5 stars
    I made this last night, and it was really good. My husband loved it! I couldn’t find canned cherry tomatoes, so I quickly broiled fresh cherry tomatoes to soften them up and slightly char them.

  62. AM

    5 stars
    This came out so good! A couple small tweaks that worked for me: I let the cashews soak in the 1/4 cup of water while I made everything else, because I’ve seen that in other recipes, and I think it helped them blend into the sauce at the end.

    I also used fresh cherry tomatoes instead of canned – I tossed them with a bit of olive oil and roasted them up in the oven until they burst.

    I’ll definitely be making this one again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Amelia, I’m so glad you loved it!

  63. Jeanine Donofrio

    Hi Jeannine – we’ll get that fixed, thanks for pointing that out!

  64. Karen

    5 stars
    I’m the 69th comment hehe

  65. Alexa Reynoso

    4 stars
    what could u replace the cashews with that’s not a nut overall it was good

  66. Lindsay

    5 stars
    Simple ingredients, absolutely delicious! The sauce is so good and the veggies pair so well with it. My husband isn’t vegan so we added chicken to his. We both really loved it and will make it again Thank you for the recipe!

  67. Devon

    5 stars
    Made this tonight. Completely obsessed. Wow wow wow. Thank you for this recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.