Learn how to make white sauce pasta with cheese with our quick and simple recipe and enjoy a yummy treat in less than 30 minutes. This homemade white sauce pasta with cheese recipe results in a creamy, flavourful, delicious cheesy pasta. It makes for a family-friendly and kid-approved meal for any busy weeknight dinner.
Our white sauce pasta recipe is quick and easy since it does not use flour as a thickener, therefore no need to toil to make a roux for the bechamel sauce. Additional bonus: the white sauce is gluten-free.
Bechamel sauce, or white sauce for pasta, is traditionally made with butter, refined flour (maida), whole milk, and some salt and nutmeg. It first requires the making of a roux, a mixture of butter and flour whisked and cooked together. It is a base for many other sauces. Since we are making a white sauce pasta without flour, we do not make a bechamel sauce but an easy, delicious white cheese sauce.
Our recipe calls for whole wheat penne pasta, rigatoni, or spaghetti. But you can also use macaroni, fusilli, farfalle, or any pasta shape of your choice. Non whole wheat Pasta is also fine if that’s what you prefer.
Is Whole Wheat Pasta healthy?
Whole wheat pasta is made from hard durum wheat and comes in many shapes and sizes. Its rough surface and coarse texture allow sauces to adhere to and encase each strand of pasta properly. It should always be cooked al dente (in Italian, literally “to the tooth”) for the desired texture and taste of traditional pasta. Apart from its delicious nutty taste, whole wheat pasta has many natural health benefits. It is high in fibre and rich in nutrients, and thus a good alternative to semolina or refined flour pasta which has a higher glycemic level. Hearty, filling, and satisfying, whole wheat pasta is a great option to overly processed, overly refined foods.
Tips on How to make the best White Sauce with Cheese:
Full-fat or whole milk adds richness and creaminess to the white sauce pasta recipe. Do not use low-fat, toned, or skim milk, which has much less fat, and hence is not suitable.
Usually cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella, heavy cream, or a mix of many kinds of cheese are added to enrich a bechamel based white sauce pasta. We have used cream cheese for this white sauce pasta no flour recipe to add a rich texture and creamy flavour.
We have seasoned this white sauce pasta with salt, nutmeg powder, white pepper powder mixed dried herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary), garlic, and parsley. You can also add Dijon mustard, red chilli flakes, or smoked paprika for an easy variation in flavour.
We like to stir in some pasta water (the reserved water in which the pasta was cooked) to create a smooth emulsion close to the end of the cooking. This ensues a truly creamy cream cheese pasta without the sauce drying up. The starch in the pasta water brings the sauce together, helping in achieving the desired smoothness and consistency, and also helps the pasta cling to the sauce. Gradually add small amounts of the pasta water and keep stirring. Plain water will not yield the same result, so make sure to add only the starchy pasta water. Many traditional Italian pasta sauces only use pasta water and butter to create a creamy sauce base. This is a super tip that helps in making the best white sauce pasta with cheese.
To prevent the cream cheese from curdling or becoming gritty, cook on low heat. Cooking the cream cheese sauce on high heat will affect the consistency adversely, so make sure you cook it low and slow.
The sauce will thicken as it cools, or if simmered for too long. If this happens, just add a little more pasta water to thin it out, or milk if you want to enrich it more.
This simple but delicious white sauce with cheese is also great for topping vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, nachos, and potato chips / French fries.
Our whole wheat white sauce pasta with cheese recipe is flexible and can be customized to suit your needs. Feel free to tweak it.
White Sauce Pasta Variations:
For a hearty vegetarian pasta meal, you can add mixed vegetables like carrot, bell pepper, sweet corn, peas, broccoli, mushroom, and sun-dried tomato. Saute the vegetables until they are slightly tender yet crunchy, and then add them to the dish.
For a non-vegetarian pasta, you can add pieces of grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, diced ham, tuna, and even shrimp.
White sauce pasta with cheesemakes a hearty and filling meal by itself and doesn’t need any side dishes. If you like, you can add a fresh garden salad as an accompaniment.
Learn how to make tasty white sauce pasta without flour at home with step by step pictures and video instructions here.
Or see all our Noodle and Pasta Recipes right here!