Penne Pasta Salad with Mint, Scallion and Snap Peas
- 1 box Banza Penne
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 4.5-oz. tube double-concentrated tomato paste
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 oz. vodka
- ½ cup cashew cream (¼ cup cashews blended with ¼ cup of nut milk)
- Basil leaves (for serving)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, just until onion is starting to brown around the edges, 57 minutes. Add entire 4.5-oz. tube tomato paste and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes and stir until paste evenly coats onion. Continue to cook until paste is deep red and starting to brown on bottom of pot, 57 minutes. Add 2 oz. vodka to deglaze pan and stir to incorporate, scraping bottom of pot. Reduce heat to low.
- Using a heatproof glass measuring cup, scoop about ½ cup boiling water from pot, then add ½ cashew cream to measuring cup. Slowly add warmed cashew cream to Dutch oven, stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce forms. Remove from heat.
- Add Penne to pot of boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions until al dente. About 1 minute before the timer goes off, use heatproof measuring cup to scoop up about 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Strain pasta and add to dutch oven.
- Add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to Dutch oven and stir to incorporate, then gradually add half the Parmesan (if using), stirring constantly to melt cheese. There should be a smooth, glossy sauce that coats each piece of pasta. Season with salt and add a splash more pasta cooking liquid to thin sauce, if needed.