This is one of the most popular recipes on my website year-round, and for good reason. This creamy, rich white sauce pasta tastes indulgent and restaurant quality, without using any cream.
For many people, including me, pasta is the comfort food. There’s something about some good old carbs tossed in a creamy sauce that sends my heart racing. My life was forever changed the day I learned how to make my own pasta sauce. Growing up, pasta night meant pasta tossed in storebought Ragu marinara sauce. I could never quite get myself to enjoy it and never understood why it was so different compared to the good stuff at restaurants. Turns out, making your own pasta sauce is not only a complete game-changer, but the possibilities are endless!
A basic white sauce is so easy to make and is a staple in my home. It requires only a handful of ingredients and can be customized to your preferences. Chances are, you already have all the ingredients you need for this white sauce pasta in your pantry and fridge. You will be left amazed at the delicious flavor that comes from such simple ingredients. The mother sauce we will be focusing on today is bechamel.
The Five Mother Sauces of Cooking
In cooking, there are five basic sauces that are the foundation of pretty much any other sauce you know. The name Mother Sauce comes from the fact that each of these five sauces is like the head of its own little family or variations. Each of the five mother sauces uses a different base liquid and thickening agent.
- Béchamel Sauce: This is one of the most simple of the five sauces because it doesnt involve making a sauce. All you need is milk, flour, and butter to make a simple Béchamel. This sauce can be used as an ingredient in lasagna and casserole as well as a base for some cheese-based sauces.
- Velouté Sauce: This is another relatively simple mother sauce. It is most commonly made by thickening chicken stock with a roux and is usually used to make other sauces such as Mushroom or Poulette sauce.
- Espagnole Sauce: This is slightly more complex as it uses a brown stock that is derived from bones that were first roasted to add to color and flavor. It is also made with tomato purée to add to the deep flavor.
- Hollandaise Sauce: This is a very unique, tangy, buttery sauce that is made by whisking clarified butter into warm egg yolks. This sauce is delicious on its own and is usually a topping for seafood and eggs.
- Classic Tomato Sauce: This may remind you of the sauce we see on pizza and traditional pasta but it is much more flavorful and is a little more complex when done right. It is also used as a base for many sauces such as Creole sauce.
How to make a Béchamel Sauce
The mother sauce used in this recipe is the béchamel sauce. Before we get into the specifics, let’s cover the basics of bechamel. A simple béchamel white sauce is VERY simple to make.
- Try your best to use room temperature butter and melt it. (between you and me, you can also use cold butter and nobody will even realize!)
- Add in an equal portion of flour and allow it to thicken while stirring over heat. This is called the roux and will be the thickener for the bechamel sauce.
- Add in half a cup of milk and stir well. Then add in the rest of the milk, in 1 cup intervals.
- Continue whisking for another minute or two and you’re done!
For this roasted vegetable white sauce, we also roast some vegetables and add that into the bechamel sauce with garlic, fresh basil and herbs. This creates a very fresh and light white sauce that tastes delicious.
Can I make the sauce ahead of time?
Yes it can! This sauce can last up to 3 days in the fridge and reheated. However, if you are going to make it ahead, I would recommend storing the sauce in a jar. Then, on the day you are planning to eat it, boil your pasta and heat the sauce on the stove with a splash of the water used to boil the pasta. Make sure to give it a quick taste and adjust spice or salt. Then, add in the boiled pasta, and enjoy!
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This Roasted Vegetable White Sauce Pasta is an all-time favorite at my house! It’s easy to make with simple ingredients you probably already have at home.
10 oz pasta
Basic White Sauce
- 3 tbsp butter
- 5–6 cloves garlic, minced
- Handful of basil/sage or any fresh Italian herb, finely minced
- 1 jalapeno or habanero pepper (optional, for spice)
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 cups 2% milk (or whole milk)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt, to taste
- ½ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese
- Avocado Oil (or your favorite) – approx 1 tbsp
- 1/2 large white onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cooked sweet potato, optional but recommended
- 1 tbsp italian seasoning
- Preheat the oven or airfryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, add all the ingredients under the “Roasted Veggies” Section with a drizzle of oil (I use 1 tbsp). Toss to combine and pour onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30-50 minutes or until your preferred tenderness. Move onto the next steps while the veggies roast.
- While making the sauce, bring a pot of water to boil. Add the pasta to the water and boil until cooked. Once it’s cooked, do not drain!
- In a saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add in minced garlic, chopped fresh herbs and chopped jalapeno/habenero and sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the flour to the saucepan and mix into the butter to form a paste-like substance. Make sure there are no clumps and cook for 30 seconds on medium heat just to make sure the flour is not raw.
- Add in one cup of the milk, whisking gently until it thickens. It will gets really thick, don’t worry that’s fine. Use your spatula to get press down of any large lumps. Then, add in another cup of milk, allowing it to thicken. Simmer on medium until thickened. If you’re having trouble getting rid of the clumps, you can just add it to a blender, blend until completely smooth and add it back to the pan.
- Add in the last cup of milk and the roasted veggies from step one. Add in the garlic powder, red chili powder and Italian seasoning. Add salt to taste. Cook on medium heat until it thickens. Stir in the cheese until melted.
- Set aside some of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and simmer on low for 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and spice. If it thickens too much, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to loosen up. Add red chili flakes for extra spice! If you want to, you can bake at 325F for a few minutes but that’s totally optional.
Make sure to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @eatsbyramya or DM it to get featured!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian