As elaborate and varied as noodle dishes can be, sometimes you just want to channel your inner college kid and eat pasta with tomato sauce. Our rich rosé sauce on penne is a splendid solution for easy weeknight dinners. But if you’re looking to beef this up, you could add steamed vegetables, sautéed veggie ground round, or Tofu Bacon Crumbles.
- To make the red sauce, cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and excess watery flesh. This is easiest to do with your fingers by pressing an index finger and middle finger inside each tomato half and running them down the length of the tomato. The seeds should slide out. You don’t have to get every single one, just the majority. Cut the tomatoes into a large dice.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, oregano, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes. Tear the basil leaves by hand and add to the pot. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaf and set aside. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until mostly smooth, getting rid of the large tomato chunks. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour the sauce into a regular blender and pulse a few times to get it mostly smooth, then add it back to the pot. Return the bay leaf to the pot and continue to simmer the sauce for 25 to 30 minutes uncovered.
- If making the rosé sauce, drain and rinse the cashews. Add to a high-powered blender with the water and blend until very smooth. Stir the cashew cream into the pot of red sauce during the last 10 minutes of simmering. Heat through and serve.
- Combine all the ingredients together in a food processor and process until a fine crumb or meal is formed.
- Store in a jar or container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain but don’t rinse.
- Add the pasta back to the pot you cooked it in and place over low heat. Add 4 to 5 cups of the sauce (or more if desired). Stir to coat evenly and heat through for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 1⁄4 cup of The Parm.
- Top each serving with a bit more sauce, if desired, as well as more of The Parm, the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.