Tomato paste is one of our favorite pantry staples for making quick and creamy pasta sauces. This dish reminds us of penne alla vodka, with a plant-based twist!
- 2 tablepoons avocado oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/ 4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 can tomato paste (6oz)
- 2 tablepoons olive oil, plus more for serving if desired
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
- 1 cup oat milk
- 12 ounce pasta, gluten free if needed
- fresh basil, optional
- black pepper, optional
Prepare the sauce by warming 2 tbsp avocado oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until they are softened, stirring to prevent the bottom from burning.
Add red pepper flakes and salt and stir for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Add the full can of tomato paste and olive oil. Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom while you stir to avoid the bottom from burning, until tomato paste has turned from a bright red to a deep rich red, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly then transfer to a blender along with oat milk, and set aside for a bit. Wipe out pot, but it doesn’t matter if there’s still browned bits stuck to the bottom.
Fill the same pot with water and add salt (about 1 Tbs). Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions - or a little closer to the al dente side. Drain, but save 1 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta to pot.
Add pasta water to blender and blend until very smooth. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Pour into pasta pot and gently toss to coat the pasta.
Serve pasta with fresh basil, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.