Soak the cashew nuts in hot water for about 20 minutes.
Boil the rigatoni in salted water until just before al dente - about 2/3 of the time given on the package.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and, finely chop the onion and saute it with all the herbs and spices (salt, pepper, thyme, smoked salt).
When the onions are translucent, add in the garlic. After about 2 minutes (don't let the garlic turn brown - that's bitter!) add in the canned tomatoes and tomato pure and simmer on a medium low heat for 5-10 minutes.
Finally add in the soy milk and cognac and simmer for another 2 minutes.
For the mozzarella sauce, drain the cashews and blend them with all the other mozzarella ingredients. When the mixture is very smooth, pour it into a pan.
Carefully arrange the rigatoni in the cake pan (you'll get the hang of it quickly, don't worry :)), pour over the tomato sauce and gently push it down inside the pasta using a spatula.
If you are up for an extra layer of flavor, cut the cherry tomatoes into narrow pieces and stuff one piece down each rigatoni (or every 2nd, 3rd, whatever you feel like :))
Put the mozzarella pan on a medium heat and stir constantly. As soon as the mixture is thickened up slightly throughout (we're looking for the consistency of a cheese fondue here), pour it over the rigatoni.
Evenly distribute the mozzarella sauce on top of the rigatoni with the spatula. Top with some extra thyme and smoked salt.
Bake the rigatoni cake at 180°C for 30 minutes. For the first 15 minutes cover it with aluminium foil or a lid. Enjoy fresh out of the oven :) Goes great with salad.