A favorite from my childhood, this white sauce pasta with vegetables is going to comfort and satisfy. It's a really basic, creamy, cheesy pasta recipe that also packs in the veggies which makes it a firm hit during meal times and among kids too. There's no need to make the sauce separately and dirty a ton of dishes with this recipe.
This one is seriously taking me back. Because when we didn't know all the fancy pasta names and recipes, this is what was made at home. A basic bechamel sauce that was whisked to creaminess and a bunch of veggies and macaroni tossed in it for pure comfort food.
Obviously, this is slightly more fancy - we are using rigatoni and mozzarella which is a step up from the highly processed Amul cheese from 20 years ago. But OMG it brings back the same feelings of satisfaction and happiness.
I think it's really important to know how to make a few basic sauces and bechamel is one of them. A lot of people make it sound really complex, but when I'm cooking at home, throwing in ingredients without measuring, this sauce I've realized can be as easy as it gets.
Base of White Sauce Pasta - Bechamel Sauce
Bechamel sauce is a simple sauce made usually with butter, flour and some kind of liquid (milk/stock). Equal amounts of butter and flour are used and the flour is generally cooked in melted butter for a minute or so to get rid of the raw flour. After which, milk is added slowly to the pot while whisking continuously. As the milk mixes with the flour and warms up, it gradually starts to thicken and after a few minutes of whisking and simmering what you are left with is a silky smooth sauce.
I've realized that the same method can be used even if you add veggies before you add the flour and milk. This way you reduce one step where you make the sauce separately and then mix everything together. Which is what we've done here. The veggies are sauteed in oil and butter after which flour and milk are added. You still need to keep whisking continuously but this is so much faster and you don't dirty an extra pan!
This recipe packs in a good 4-5 cups of veggies which makes it really nutritious and if you have kids, it's a great way to get them to eat veggies sneaked into this white sauce pasta.
You can use your favorite pasta or whatever you have at hand. I love using rigatoni because the big tubes of pasta are just so much fun to eat, and the sauce sneaks into the middle so that when you take a bite, you have sauce oozing out of the pasta.
I feel like this is almost a one pot recipe, except for boiling the pasta. Which makes it such a big mess-free hit for dinner! You can also easily add some shredded chicken or cooked shrimp if you want to add some protein. Just mix it up when you are adding the pasta. If you add more veggies or protein, you may have to increase and adjust the amount of milk in the recipe so that you still have enough sauce.
This is such a fun, easy recipe that I'm sure you'll be making it on repeat!
More Veg Pastas You Can Try:
- Tomato Basil Pasta
- Pasta in Jalapeno Pesto
- One Pot Vegetable Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Mushroom Kale Linguine
- All-In Sunday Veggie Pasta
- Easy Vegetarian Lasagna
Watch How to make White Sauce Pasta Recipe Video (Step by Step)
White Sauce Pasta with Vegetables
- 150 grams Dried Pasta Macaroni /Penne /Fusilli / Orecchiette / Rigatoni
- 2 tablespoon Salt
- 5 cups Water
- 2 tablespoon Butter
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 4-5 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 cup Onion diced
- ½ cup Broccoli florets
- 6-7 Mushrooms halved
- ½ cup Corn Kernels
- 1 cup Bell Peppers cubed (colored)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Milk
- ½ cup Cream
- 1 cup Mozzarella grated
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard optional
- 2 tablespoon Basil shredded
- In a large pot bring 5 cups water to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt to this along with uncooked pasta. Cook according to package instructions till al dente. Drain, wash with cold water and set aside.
- In another pan, add olive oil and butter and heat till the butter has melted. Add minced garlic and onions, cook for a minute or two till the onions are translucent. Add broccoli florets, corn, mushrooms and the peppers. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add flour and cook stirring for a minute or two. Slowly start adding milk while stirring continuously till the sauce starts to thicken. Simmer for two minutes and add cream. Mix the cream and add the drained cooked pasta and cheese.
- Add dijon mustard and fresh basil (if using) and stir to mix everything together. Serve immediately.
- Always add the pasta to boiling water. Never add pasta to warm or room temperature water. Time it and cook it till al dente.
- Reserve some of the pasta water as the starch present in this will help thicken the sauce.
- Cook veggies on medium high heat instead of low heat. Slow cooking tends to make them lose their crunchiness and leave out water. Do not overcook.
- Time it so that the pasta gets cooked just about the same time the sauce gets ready. This way the pasta won't harden.
- Feel free to swap the vegetables for something else like protein, chicken, shrimp or other veggies like zucchini.