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. 

 

79 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Jessica
    06.27.2019

    5 stars
    The sauce is unbelieveable!! Great recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2019

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Anna
    06.08.2019

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

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.08.2019

      Minced – thanks for pointing that out!

  3. Terri
    05.06.2019

    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.

  4. Anonymous Essay
    05.02.2019

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

  5. Elussa
    04.30.2019

    Love roasted cherry tomatoes

  6. Jen
    04.28.2019

    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.

  7. Lina
    04.28.2019

    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.

  8. Madeleine
    04.27.2019

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

  9. Lindsay
    04.26.2019

    Love bruschetta made with fresh cherry tomatoes!!

  10. Shirley
    04.26.2019

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

  11. eve
    04.26.2019

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

  12. Shoshana Rose
    04.25.2019

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

  13. Maureen Flanagan
    04.25.2019

    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.

  14. Sara Ramirez
    04.24.2019

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

  15. Jeanine Donofrio
    04.24.2019

    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
      04.24.2019

      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.

  16. Phyllis
    04.24.2019

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

  17. Kate S.
    04.24.2019

    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!!!

  18. Lizzy
    04.24.2019

    I love sundried tomato pesto!!

  19. Sheryl Hilbert
    04.24.2019

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

  20. Annette
    04.24.2019

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

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.