Creamy Tomato Vegan Pasta

Creamy Tomato Vegan Pasta


Fun fact— this Creamy Tomato Pasta is actually #vegan. Another fun fact—you can make it for dinner
  • 1½ c. water, divided, plus more for pasta
  • ¾ c. raw cashews, divided
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1¼ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 16 oz. penne
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp. tomato paste
  • ¼ c. sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ¼ c. fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, for serving
  1. In a small pot over high heat, heat 1 cup water just until boiling. Remove from heat and add ½ cup cashews. Cover and let soak 1 hour.
  2. Drain soaked cashews, discarding soaking liquid, and thoroughly rinse. Transfer to a blender and add ½ cup water and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a small container (you should have about ¾ cup cashew cream).
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and stir in 2 tablespoons salt. Add penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, 2 to 3 minutes less than package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large, high-sided skillet, combine 1 tablespoon oil, ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ cup cashews. Toast over low heat, tossing frequently, until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside. Wipe out skillet.
  5. In same skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, and remaining ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until paste darkens and starts to stick to bottom of pot, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Whisk in ¾ cup cashew cream and ¾ cup reserved pasta cooking liquid until combined, then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add pasta and cook, tossing constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid ¼ cup at a time as needed, until pasta is al dente and sauce is glossy and coats pasta, 2 to 3 minutes; season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt as needed.
  7. Divide pasta among bowls. Using a microplane, finely grate reserved toasted cashews over pasta. Top with basil.

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