“But will it taste like coconut?”
Nope! Is what I told Jeff when I was making this sauce. Adding rich+fatty coconut milk to most anything with a bit of acidity will neutralize its coconutty taste, giving it a beautiful, dairy-free richness. I use it in cheeses along with coconut vinegar for sandwiches, to stuff into homemade ravioli and slather it over elbow pasta. If you still taste a hint of coconut in it, add a little more acidity. Easy peasy.
If you have a favorite pasta sauce, just add a bit of coconut milk 1/4 cup at a time, until the perfect creamy taste is achieved. Add the coconut milk at the very end, and just allow to warm through — coconut milk tends to get a bit bitter if left heated too long.
Although not entirely essential, roasting garlic for this dish will not only give the sauce a bolder and more flavorful sauce — it will also fill your house with an amazing aroma that smells better than anything else (besides fresh baked bread). Two bulbs are better than one, and any garlic you don’t use here can be smeared over bread or crackers later.
CREAMY + CHUNKY PASTA SAUCE
Yield 4 servings
FOR THE GARLIC
- 2 heads of garlic
- 3 TB olive oil, divided
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 cup shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 24 ounces jar marinara sauce (I like Rao’s Brand)
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut chiffonade
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
TO ROAST THE GARLIC
- To roast the garlic, preheat your oven to 400.
- Remove the loose, papery skin around each head, but keep it intact. Trim off the very top of the head to expose the garlic. Drizzle each head with 1 TB of the olive oil.
- Wrap in foil, then place into a glass pyrex and roast for 30-40 minutes. It’s done when the exposed top is golden to deeply golden. Allow to cool completely, then separate the bulbs from the skin. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE SAUCE
- Heat the remaining 1 TB of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add in the shallots and saute until softened and slightly golden.
- Add in the tomatoes and saute until slightly softened, then stir in the marinara sauce. Once warmed, lightly mash half or all of the garlic and add to the sauce.*
- Allow to warm all of the way through, then add in the coconut milk. Once warmed through, remove from the heat and stir in the basil and nutritional yeast.
- Serve with any pasta dish.
- * You can save any leftover garlic by storing it in the refrigerator and using within a week.
Ravioli, Calzones and Lasagna, oh my! More dishes to top off with this sauce.