"Date Me" Creamy Tomato Pasta With Chickpeas

This creamy tomato pasta with chickpeas uses simple pantry staples for flavorful and satisfying pasta dinner that’s better than a fancy restaurant meal. The pink tomato cream sauce is luxurious, with only a little bit of cream that you can adjust to your liking (a less guilty option). If you like, you can use milk instead of cream for a lighter sauce. And for a vegan option, swap out the cream for unsweetened oat creamer, and skip the cheese.


▢8 ounces paccheri pasta, any short pasta will work
▢Extra virgin olive oil
▢1 28- ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes with their juices
▢4 to 5 large garlic cloves, minced
▢1 15- ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
▢Kosher salt and black pepper
▢1 teaspoon dried oregano
▢½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
▢¼ to ¾ cup heavy cream, or Unsweetened oat creamer
▢Grated cheese such as Pecorino Romano or Parmesan or your favorite alternative

In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Add the chickpeas. Season with kosher salt, black pepper, the oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season well with kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package instructions (about 8 to 9 minutes). Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water then drain the pasta.
After the sauce has been simmering for 10 to 15 minutes, over low heat, stir in the heavy cream (start with ¼ cup and add as you need to) and a little bit of the starchy pasta water (again, start with ¼ cup or so). Taste and adjust the seasoning or add more heavy cream to your liking.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To finish, stir in the parsley and a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano or grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

Vegan substitutions – Use unsweetened oat milk instead of heavy cream (it will taste a bit on the sweater side, however). Swap out the cheese for a vegan alternative, or omit it completely.
Can you use milk instead of heavy cream? Yes. You can use a 1:1 ratio to substitute. If you want to replicate the consistency of heavy cream, use a tablespoon of flour to thicken the milk. Milk can curdle due to the acidity of tomatoes. Heat the milk a little before adding it to the tomato sauce to try and avoid this. Do not boil the milk, as this will likely cause it to separate.
Serve it with – Start with a big salad. If you like, throw in some shredded rotisserie chicken or pan-seared salmon.
Leftovers and storage – Store leftover tomato pasta in the fridge for 3 days or so. Warm up over medium heat, stirring regularly.

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