Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

rate this recipe:
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves 4
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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.