I know that if I make pasta, my kids will eat it. When I'm too tired to even think about mealtime battles, I default to pasta. They could and would eat it every night, but are pretty particular about the sauce.
While we can never go wrong with spaghetti sauce, we all need a change every now and then.
White cream sauce with milk is the perfect alternative. Made with basic pantry and fridge ingredients, this sauce recipe is super creamy and tasty.
It takes only about 10 minutes. Not only is it quick, it's healthier than recipes made with heavy whipping cream and those bought from the store. There is a minimal preparation aside from mincing the garlic cloves.
- Milk: you can use skim, 1%, 2%, whole milk, or evaporated milk. Keep in mind that the higher the fat content, the richer the sauce will be. So whole milk will have a richer and thicker outcome than when using skim milk. I have not tried this with non-dairy milks.
- Flour: use all purpose flour rather than specialty flours.
- Parmesan cheese: use grated Parmesan instead of shredded, as grated incorporates better into the milk mixture. If using shredded, make sure it's freshly shredded and not packaged shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in preservatives that make it harder to melt without it turning rubbery or stringy.
- Minced garlic
- Salt and pepper
It's as healthy as the ingredients that go into it. So if you stick with the recipe as written and do not substitute or add variations, the recipe is not entirely unhealthy. The pasta does add carbs and the cheese adds fat, so be careful if you're on a keto or weight-loss diet.
Follow these easy steps to make a quick, creamy white pasta sauce.
Step 1: Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Step 2: Add the all-purpose flour and continue stirring constantly for 1 more minute. This will create a roux, which looks like a thick white paste. Make sure the burner is on medium and not high here. Roux burns easily.
Step 3: Slowly pour in the milk, stirring as you do so. Keep stirring after all the milk is in the pot, until the sauce thickens. Add the salt, black pepper, and grated parmesan cheese. Whisk constantly while the cheese melts. After the cheese has melted, simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Remove the pot from the heat immediately when done and toss with cooked pasta.
*This recipe makes 2 cups of sauce, which is enough for about 12 ounces of pasta. It can be doubled, tripled, or halved. Keep all ingredient ratios proportionate.
White sauce is most delicious on pasta, but is fantastic drizzled over chicken, vegetables or baked salmon and shrimp.
It's also great mixed into rice dishes or served with crusty bread and vegetable side dishes.
To make it a full meal, you can:
Add vegetables: add chopped spinach, kale, cherry/grape tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus.
Add spices: make it spicy with a dash of red pepper flakes, cayenne powder, or even scotch bonnet powder. Fresh diced jalapeños can also be added.
Fridge: store in a mason jar or airtight container for up to 2 days.
Freezer: store in plastic freezer safe bag for around 6 months. However, white pasta sauce is best used fresh on the same day. The freezer will cause texture changes.
White Pasta Sauce
- Small pot
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add all purpose flour and stir constantly for about 30 seconds, until a thick paste forms.
- Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly. Whisk for 1 minute, or until it a thick sauce forms.
- Add the salt, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Stir constantly until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat immediately and add to cooked chicken, pasta, fish, or vegetables.