If I were going to nominate one nut as the Vegan’s MVP, it would be the mighty cashew (sorry, almond). When soaked in hot water and blended at high-power, cashews lend their fattiness to make luxurious, creamy sauces that—thanks to the nut’s neutral flavor—blend into the background in the best way possible. Here that cashew cream is married with cooked-out tomato (a combination of whole canned tomatoes and paste) for a fruity, tangy sauce reminiscent of pasta alla vodka. Just like in the original, the alcohol brightens the rich dish and enhances the tomatoes’ fruitiness.
The key to making the smoothest sauce possible is to blend the soaked cashews with water on their own before adding the tomato mixture. While it is possible to make this sauce in a food processor, a high-powered blender is going to give you the glossiest, least grainy sauce.