White Sauce Pasta Recipe (White Pasta)

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White Sauce Pasta (also referred to as White Pasta) is one of the most popular and easiest pasta recipes that you can make at home. In this White Sauce Pasta Recipe, I am sharing an easy way to make a restaurant style white sauce (or béchamel sauce) in which cooked penne pasta is tossed. The recipe comes together in 30 minutes and makes for a comforting brunch or lunch.

white sauce pasta garnished with scallion greens served in a black glass bowl kept on top of black plate on a wooden board with text layovers.

About White Sauce Pasta Recipe

White Sauce Pasta recipe is an easy-to-make dish of cooked penne pasta in a smooth, creamy and delicious white sauce a.k.a Béchamel sauce.

Here, you just have to prepare the white sauce, which is a mixture of all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour, butter, milk and spices, pour it over the penne and toss well.

This popular White Sauce Pasta Recipe is a vegetarian version and can be served as a snack or light dinner. You can make it more wholesome and hearty by adding some mixed vegetables.

Adding mixed veggies to this pasta dish is a great way to get your family to consume more nutrition along with flavors. These vegetables can be steamed, cooked, sautéed or roasted.

When preparing pasta recipes, whole wheat pasta is always a healthier choice. Hence, I too have used whole wheat penne in this recipe. However, you can use any pasta you prefer, including different varieties like macaroni, rigatoni or farfalle.

Some vegetables that go great in this White Sauce Pasta are carrots, green peas, beans, cauliflower, peppers (capsicum), sweet corn, broccoli, zucchini and baby corn.

The white sauce in this penne pasta dish is flavored with some black pepper and nutmeg. You can chose to skip the spice too. Some cheddar cheese or vegetarian parmesan can also be added to the sauce to make it all the more delish.

If you like white sauce and would like to prep it for your pasta nights or for any other recipe, check this detailed know-how on making the classic Homemade Béchamel Sauce.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make White Sauce Pasta

Make White Sauce

1. Heat a saucepan. Keep the heat to low and add 2 tablespoons butter. You can use salted or unsalted butter.

melting butter in a sauce pan for white sauce pasta recipe.

2. When the butter melts and starts to bubble, add 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (atta) or choose to swap 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (maida) with the whole wheat flour.

flour added in the butter.

3. Using a wired whisk, stir the flour quickly as soon as you add it. Keep stirring so that no lumps are formed. The frequent stirring helps the flour to cook evenly.

You will see the flour frothing and bubbling up while stirring. Sauté until you get a nice cooked aroma and the flour is a pale golden color. Don’t brown the flour.

mixing flour with butter and sautéing the mixture.

4. Keep heat on low and pour 1 cup cold or chilled milk in a gentle stream with one hand and stir the sauce mixture with the other.

The milk has to be cold or chilled, so that lumps do not form.

adding chilled milk to the pan for making white sauce pasta recipe.

5. Stir frequently, while the milk heats up.

mixing milk with a wired whisk.

6. On low heat, simmer the sauce till it thickens. When the sauce has thickened well and coats the back of a spoon, turn off the heat.

white sauce simmering and thickened.

7. Remove the saucepan from the heat and place on the kitchen countertop.

Add the seasonings – ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder, a generous pinch of nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg and salt as required.

For a cheese sauce, you can add 2 tablespoons of grated/shredded cheddar cheese or 1 to 2 tablespoons of grated vegetarian parmesan cheese.

white sauce seasoned with black pepper, nutmeg powder and salt.

8. Mix very well and set aside. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken as it cools, so keep the consistency accordingly.

mixing with a wired whisk.

Cook Penne Pasta

9. Boil 4 cups water with ½ teaspoon salt in a pan.

boiling salted water in a pan.

10. When the water comes to a boil, add 1 cup penne pasta.

penne pasta added to the pan.

11. Cook the pasta on a medium to high heat.

cooking pasta in boiling water.

12. When the pasta gets done to an al dente texture, turn off the heat. For a more softer texture, cook the pasta a little longer. Strain the pasta with a large strainer spoon.

cooked penne pasta being removed with a strainer spoon.

Make White Sauce Pasta

13. Then, add the cooked penne pasta to the prepared white sauce.

cooked pasta added in the white sauce.

14. Add ¼ teaspoon each of dried oregano, dried basil and dried thyme. Or add your choice of herbs.

At this step, you can add some steamed, cooked, sautéed or roasted vegetables too, if you like.

dried herbs like oregano, parsley and thyme added on the pasta.

15. Mix very well.

pasta mixed with white sauce and herbs.

16. Serve White Sauce Pasta garnished with some fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, chives or dill. You can also garnish with some grated cheddar cheese.

white sauce pasta garnished with scallion greens served in a black glass bowl kept on top of black plate on a wooden board with text layovers.

Expert Tips

  1. Stirring and mixing flour: After you add the flour, you need to stir often, so that lumps are not formed. Frequently stirring the flour also cooks the flour evenly. You will notice the flour frothing and bubbling, when you sauté it. Make sure to sauté the flour until you get a nice nutty aroma and the flour turns a pale golden color.
  2. White sauce free of lumps: To make a lump-free sauce, use cold milk. Hot, warm or milk at room temperature may form lumps in the sauce.
  3. Checking doneness of white sauce: When you see the sauce coating the back of the spoon, it has thickened well and is done.
  4. For a cheese sauce: Add 2 tablespoons of freshly grated cheddar cheese for a cheesy white sauce. You can also opt to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of grated vegetarian parmesan cheese.
  5. Herbs and vegetables: You can add both fresh herbs and dried herbs of your choice. When you add the herbs, you can also add steamed, roasted or sautéed vegetables. Mostly the conversion for the herbs is 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
  6. Gluten-free option: Make the same recipe with a gluten-free pasta and use rice flour or a gluten-free flour for the béchamel sauce.
  7. Vegan option: Almond milk works very nicely in this recipe. Just cook almond milk on a low heat so that it does not split or become grainy.
  8. Scaling: You can make a large batch of the pasta or halve the recipe easily.

More Pasta Recipes To Try!

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white sauce pasta garnished with scallion greens served in a black glass bowl kept on top of black plate on a wooden board

White Sauce Pasta Recipe (White Pasta)

White Sauce Pasta (also known as White Pasta) is one of the most popular and easiest pasta recipes that you can make at home. In this recipe, I am sharing an easy way to make a restaurant style white sauce (or béchamel sauce) in which cooked penne pasta is tossed.
5 from 25 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Italian, World
Course Main Course, Snacks
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 2
Units

Ingredients

For white sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Butter – salted or unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour or 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk – cold or chilled
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder or add as required
  • 1 generous pinch of nutmeg powder (ground nutmeg) or grated nutmeg
  • salt as required

For cooking pasta

  • 1 cup penne pasta – 100 grams
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or add as required

More ingredients

  • ¼ teaspoon dry oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

For garnish

  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs – preferred choice of herbs or some spring onion greens or chives
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese or vegetarian parmesan cheese, grated – add as required, optional

Instructions
 

Making white sauce

  • Heat a saucepan. Keep the heat to a low and add the butter.
  • When the butter melts and starts to bubble, then add 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour or 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.
  • Using a wired whisk stir the flour quickly as soon as you add it. Keep on stirring so that no lumps are formed.
  • The frequent stirring helps the flour to cook evenly. You will see the flour frothing and bubbling up while stirring.
  • Sauté the flour till you get a nice cooked aroma from the flour and a pale golden color. Don't brown the flour.
  • Keep the heat to the lowest and then pour the cold or chilled milk in a gentle stream. Pour the milk with one hand and stir the sauce mixture with the other.
  • The milk has to be chilled, so that lumps are not formed. If you use hot or warm milk or milk at room temperature, lumps can be formed.
  • Do stir frequently while the milk warms and heats up.
  • On a low heat, simmer the sauce till it thickens.
  • When the sauce has thickened well and coats the back of a spoon, turn off the heat.
  • Keep the saucepan on the kitchen countertop and add the seasonings – ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder, a generous pinch of nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg and salt as required.
  • To make a cheese sauce, you can add 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese or 1 tablespoon of grated vegetarian parmesan cheese.
  • Mix very well and set aside. Do note that on cooling white sauce will thicken more. So you can keep the consistency accordingly.

Cooking penne pasta

  • Boil 4 cups water with ½ teaspoon salt in a pan.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add the penne pasta.
  • Cook the pasta on a medium to high heat or according to package instructions.
  • When the pasta gets done to an al dente texture, turn off the heat. For a softer texture, you can cook the pasta more if required.
  • With a large strainer spoon, strain the pasta, draining all the water.

Making white sauce pasta

  • Add the cooked pasta to the white sauce.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon each of dried oregano, dried basil and dried thyme. You can add your choice of herbs.
    At this step you can even add some steamed or cooked or sautéed or roasted veggies.
  • Mix very well.
  • Serve white sauce pasta garnished with some fresh herbs like parsley, chives or dill. You can also garnish with some grated cheddar cheese of you like.

Video

Notes

  • Stirring and mixing flour: Once the flour is added, it has to be stirred often so that lumps are not formed. Frequently stirring also cooks the flour evenly. Sauté the flour until you get a nice nutty aroma and the flour becomes a pale golden color.
  • White sauce free of lumps: To make a lump-free sauce, use cold milk. Hot, warm or milk at room temperature may cause lumps in the sauce.
  • Checking doneness of white sauce: When you see that the sauce coats the back of the spoon, it has thickened well.
  • For a cheese sauce: Add 2 tablespoons of freshly grated cheddar cheese for a cheesy white sauce. You can also add 1 to 2 tablespoons of grated vegetarian parmesan cheese instead.
  • Pasta: Feel free to make the recipe with your favorite and preferred small pasta variety. The recipe is easily adaptable with pasta varieties like rigatoni, macaroni or farfalle.
  • Herbs & Veggies: You can add both fresh herbs and dried herbs of your choice. When you add the herbs, you can also add steamed, roasted or sautéed veggies. Instead of adding each herb separately, you could opt to add about ¾ to 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs
  • Gluten-free options: Make the same recipe with a gluten-free pasta. For the white sauce use rice flour or a gluten-free flour.
  • Vegan options: Almond milk works very nicely in the recipe. Remember to cook almond milk on a low heat so that it does not split or becomes grainy.
  • Scaling: You can make a large batch of the pasta or halve the recipe easily. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
White Sauce Pasta Recipe (White Pasta)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 586 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Trans Fat 0.5g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 743mg32%
Potassium 223mg6%
Carbohydrates 83g28%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 728IU15%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.2mg12%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.4mg2%
Vitamin B6 0.1mg5%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 40µg38%
Calcium 183mg18%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 7µg2%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 29mg7%
Phosphorus 143mg14%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This White Sauce Pasta recipe from the archives was first published in February 2017. It has been updated and republished on February 2023.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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14 Comments

  1. Superb and awesome recipes. I find that all food comes out yummy and delicious with your instructions. I have tried other websites and the food does not come out nice at all.

    So easy to cook, the recipes are 100 percent and plus it comes with a step by step with pictures which is easy to follow. Keep up the good work. Keenly awaiting for more recipes. Thank you very much, Dassana and I really appreciate it a lot.5 stars

    1. Thanks so much Nishaan for the trust and this lovely feedback. Yes as time permits will add more recipes. Thanks again and welcome.

  2. thanks for the recipe dassana – i also like pasta now and then and your clear easy to follow instructions have got me going – i think this is one of the best pasta i have ever had.5 stars

  3. Dear you are doing a great job. Whenever I need a recipe, I go to your website. Trust me, I’ve stopped going on quite a few well renowned chefs’ sites now.
    All your recipes work 100% and are very easy to cook. Keep the good work up.

    1. thank you very much manisha. felt good to read your feedback. thanks again and happy cooking.

  4. Hello

    ill be making this for my daughters birthday. can i make the sauce the previous day ,because i will be making large quantities and don’t want to be spending too much time on the birthday5 stars

    1. hi reshma, you can make the sauce a day before and refrigerate it. i have already shared the recipe of white sauce with detailed step by step photos. kindly use the search button to get the recipe.

      1. Thank you for the quick reply. I also wanted to add garlic to this sauce at what stage can I add it and how much should I add

        1. welcome reshma. add garlic with the butter. for this recipe, you can add 1 to 2 small to medium garlic cloves, finely chopped minced – about half a teaspoon of finely chopped or minced or crushed garlic.

  5. Very good recipes. I find that the dishes turn out very well with your instructions!! Thank you very much5 stars

  6. Hey all recipes really gud… i hv tried many and they all come up superb ???? pls post recipe for Veg au gratin and tart shell also
    thanks in advabce

    1. thanks a lot neha. will try to add veg au gratin and tart shell recipe.