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:
4.98 from 35 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.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*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. 

 

80 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Dani
    04.24.2019

    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

  2. Nicole
    04.23.2019

    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: https://www.101cookbooks.com/five-minute-tomato-sauce-recipe/ 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.

  3. Morgan
    04.23.2019

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

  4. Rachel Joy
    04.23.2019

    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?

  5. Roberto
    04.23.2019

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

  6. Heather
    04.23.2019

    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!

  7. SM
    04.23.2019

    I love doing Avocado toast w/ cherry tomatoes

  8. Olivia
    04.23.2019

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

  9. Maura
    04.23.2019

    Salsa and brushetta!

  10. Marianne
    04.23.2019

    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!

  11. Annie C
    04.23.2019

    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

  12. Shira
    04.23.2019

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

  13. Lish
    04.23.2019

    Grilled cheese sandwiches with heirloom tomatoes!

  14. Dana
    04.23.2019

    Love making gazpacho with summer tomatoes!

  15. Martina Roy
    04.23.2019

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

  16. Cynthia
    04.23.2019

    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!

  17. amanda
    04.23.2019

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

  18. 5 stars
    I love to make pasta salad, pasta fagioli, veggie spaghetti etc. The list goes on and on. I love tomatoes!

  19. Jody Stewart
    04.23.2019

    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!

  20. Cathy
    04.23.2019

    Cannot wait to make this!!

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

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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.