Zesty tomato sauce is spiked with red wine and red pepper flakes, and then simmered with a surprise creamy (but totally dairy free!) ingredient to make this pasta with spicy tomato cream sauce.
This is a pretty simple recipe, but I'm super pleased with it! I took a little leap of faith in developing this one, and it worked out great.
The sauce has coconut milk in it. I know...it's weird. But trust me on this.
I got it in my head that I wanted to create a pasta dish with spicy vegan tomato cream sauce after seeing this recipe. So of course my first instinct was to go with cashews. I even soaked a bunch of them. But then I got to cooking and there was a can of coconut milk for another recipe sitting on the counter, kind of staring me down and daring me to crack it open and pour the contents into my sauce. So I did. And you know what? If I had made the sauce with cashews it would've been good. With coconut milk it was kind of mind-blowing.
So, coconut milk and Italian food is weird together. But it really, really works!
Can you taste the coconut? That's a tough one. I purposely waited until my husband had eaten half of his pasta to tell him about the secret ingredient. He was surprised, but not so much in a shocked kind of way, as in a "now that you mention it..." kind of way. The tomato and spices definitely dominate, while the coconut milk gives the sauce a nice velvety richness. If you're one of those people who hates coconut, this might not be the recipe for you. But if you're just one of those people raising their eyebrows at the general idea of putting coconut milk into pasta sauce just because it's weird, then make this!
Spaghetti in Spicy (Vegan!) Tomato Cream Sauce
- 1 pound dried spaghetti or pasta of choice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon crushed fennel seed
- 2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups full-fat coconut milk, from a can
- 2 teaspoons granulated vegan sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions. Drain the pasta into a colander. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and toss with a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking.
While the pasta cooks, coat the bottom of a large pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until soft and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.
Add the wine, thyme, red pepper flakes, and fennel. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow to cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the coconut milk and sugar. Bring back to a simmer and continue cooking until the sauce thickens up a bit, about 10 minutes more. Taste test and add more red pepper flakes if you like. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Divide onto plates and serve.