This easy homemade white pasta sauce recipe is my favorite white sauce for pasta. How can you go wrong with cream, butter, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, spinach, and garlic? There isn’t anything in that sentence I didn’t like, haha.
This sauce is a great sauce to build upon. Instead of using chicken, use shrimp. Don’t like bacon? That is okay leave it out, and add a bit of olive oil instead. Lots of possibilities. If I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get started!
For more yummy main dishes go here.
Step 1: Gather the ingredients and tools
This white pasta sauce is very versatile but you will want to start with some of the basic ingredients then go from there. You will need the following:
- Bacon – I always use 4 strips hehe. The bacon will add flavor along with a bit of protein.
- Onion – onions are a great flavor enhancer in pasta sauces.
- Garlic – It is hard to make a great tasting pasta sauce without fresh garlic. 🙂
- Unsalted butter – You can use salted butter too if you like just make sure to taste it before adding any additional salt to the sauce.
- Heavy cream – this is the star of this sauce. The cream will give the sauce a rich flavor as well as tie everything together.
- Tomatoes – I like to use grape tomatoes, they are small and look nice. But you can use whatever tomatoes you would like or leave them out altogether.
- Cheese – Use a nice white cheese. I generally use a blend of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Cooked Chicken – for added protein add some chicken or maybe you would like to add some cooked shrimp or kielbasa or a number of other proteins.
- Spinach – For some nice color add in some spinach. It will also make that sauce “healthy” lol. 🙂
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasonings – add additional spices to taste
- Your favorite pasta – I generally use Penne pasta they are my favorite, but you can make this with pretty much any pasta that you want.
Step 2: How to make this white pasta sauce
First, take a skillet or saucepot and heat it on medium heat. Then add in your bacon. Let the bacon cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
*Note if you want this a little bit healthier after the bacon has been cooked, remove the grease and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to replace it.
Step 3: The onions, flavor time
Now let’s add in our onions and let them cook down a bit in that bacon grease. Onions are great flavor enhancers, I don’t recommend leaving them out of this sauce.
Step 4: Garlic and butter, mmm
Two of my favorite words are garlic and butter. So much flavor in those two ingredients. Add them to the pan with the bacon and onions.
First, add the garlic and let them cook down a bit, then add in the butter and allow it to melt.
Step 5: Cream, you know for that cream-based pasta sauce
Now we need to add in the cream. If you want your white sauce to be less thick you may add in more cream or some milk a little bit later. Allow the cream to heat up stirring the sauce occasionally.
Step 6: Those yummy tomatoes
Next, we are going to add in some sliced grape tomatoes, you can use whatever tomatoes that you want. I like the look of the sliced grape tomatoes so I always use those. Let the tomatoes cook in the sauce for a few minutes to soften up.
Step 7: Cheesy white pasta sauce
Now after our tomatoes have had a chance to soften up a bit add in the cheese. This is a mozzarella and parmesan cheese blend. Stir the cheese into the sauce until it is completely melted.
Step 8: Spices
Now give the sauce a little taste. You may want to add more salt. I also usually add pepper and garlic powder. Didn’t I already mention I like garlic?
It is very important to taste the sauce before adding extra seasonings especially extra salt. The bacon and cheese will have already added a certain amount of saltiness by themselves.
Step 9: Chicken and spinach
Now we need to finish that sauce off with some chicken and spinach. I always add the spinach in last because it cooks down really quickly.
Use precooked chicken or cook the chicken in a separate skillet. I normally get it from the deli or use leftover chicken that I cooked for something else.
When making pasta most people will advise you to add your pasta to the skillet or pot with your sauce. So cook your pasta, penne pasta, in this case, about a minute less than you normally would.
Then pour the pasta in with your simmering white pasta sauce. They will cook the rest of the way in the sauce.
Normally I won’t use two pans as I show here, but the stainless steel pan just looks nicer on camera. 🙂 After stirring in the pasta for about a minute your pasta is ready to serve.
Step 10: Enjoy that yummy pasta and white sauce
Enjoy that yummy white pasta sauce with your favorite pasta. Penne is always my favorite pasta of choice as I have mentioned.
But this same sauce works great with other pasta as well. And other proteins like shrimp instead of chicken, etc.
White Pasta Sauce Video Tutorial
Now watch those steps in action by checking out the video tutorial. 🙂
White Pasta Sauce
- Large Pot
- 2 to 4 strips of bacon I always use 4
- 1/2 of a medium onion about 1 cup chopped. (150g)
- 5 to 6 cloves of fresh garlic crushed/minced
- 1/4 cup of unsalted butter 57g
- 1 cup of heavy cream add more to thin sauce out or add milk (240ml)
- 3/4 cup of cut grape tomatoes 150g
- 1 1/2 cups of cheese mozzarella parmesan blend
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2g
- 1/4 tsp. of ground pepper 1g
- 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning optional
- 1/2 tsp. of salt taste it first before adding in the salt
- 1 cup of diced pre-cooked chicken 125g
- 1 handful of fresh spinach
- 1 box 1lb. of penne pasta noodles (454g) cooked for 10 minutes in boiling water, then drained.
- First take a skillet or sauce pot and heat it on medium heat. Then add in your bacon. Let the bacon cook for 5 to 6 minutes. If you want this a little bit healthier after the bacon has cooked a bit, remove the grease and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to replace it.
- Now let's add in our onions and let them cook down a bit in that bacon grease.
- Next add the minced garlic cloves and let them cook down a bit, then add in the butter and allow it to melt.
- Now we need to add in the cream. If you want your white sauce to be less thick you may add in more cream or some milk a little bit later. Allow the cream to heat up stirring the sauce occasionally.
- Next add the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook in the sauce for a few minutes to soften up.
- Then stir the cheese into the sauce until it is completely melted.
- Give the sauce a little taste. You may want to add in more salt. I also usually add in pepper and garlic powder, I like garlic. It is very important to taste the sauce before adding extra seasonings especially extra salt. The bacon and cheese will have already added a certain amount of saltiness by themselves.
- Finish that sauce off with some cooked chicken and spinach or use shrimp or another protein. Add your drained cooked pasta to the sauce. After stirring in the pasta for about a minute your pasta is ready to serve. *Note cook your pasta about 1 minute less then package says, usually right around 10 minutes.
- Enjoy that yummy white pasta sauce with your favorite pasta. Penne is always my favorite pasta of choice. But this same sauce works great with other pasta as well. And other proteins like shrimp instead of chicken, etc.
Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. 🙂 If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.
Here are a few other recipes you may like:
Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Garlic and Bacon
Delicious recipe but I changed it a little I added mushrooms and fresh spinach.
Thank you, Susan! This recipe already had fresh spinach as an ingredient. 🙂 Mushrooms are great too! Other things I add on occasion are black olives. So happy you tried it and liked it!
That dish looks perfectly delicious for the cold winter weather. I don’t eat meat so I’ll take out the pork but the dish is divine. 🙂
Awesome! 🙂 Yeah, you can make whatever substitutions that you like. 🙂 🙂
I would love to try this recipe out. I love any pasta sauce so this right up my alley!
Definitely try it out sometime, and let me know what you think. 🙂
I bet this dish smells amazing. Interesting that you’ve added bacon to the mix.
It does smell amazing! hehe bacon makes everything better. lol
oh that looks amazing. i would love to make this and i’m sure my family would love this.
Thanks, Katrina! I am sure they would. 🙂
There’s really nothing like a good pasta! Thanks for sharing your recipe with us 🙂
Agreed! And you are very welcome. 🙂
In the infamous words of Cameo in their song, “Candy”:
“You’re giving me a heart attack!
It’s the kind I like!”
My mouth is watering just looking at the ingredients. I’m gonna have to come back and tell you how this worked out for me. Thanks for posting!
Awesome, Scott! Yes please do. 🙂
Looks like a lovely sauce. Sure many will find this recipe helpful for sure
You have done it again! I love this recipe. All the ingredients check out on my list! Hopefully, I can make something like it, for my lunch on Sunday!
Awesome! Glad you like it. 🙂
This looks and sounds incredible! And it has Bacon in it??? You can never go wrong with Bacon! I’m definitely making this!
So true! You can never go wrong with bacon! haha. 🙂
This looks extremely tempting. I will try it for my kids
Please do! 🙂
This sounds great. Such a quick recipe for a weeknight dinner.
Thanks, Rebecca! 🙂
That looks easy and amazing!
Thank you, Ann! 🙂
Sounds yummy! I think I would like this sauce with clams in it. I love clam sauce on spaghetti. But it would be good just the way you make it, too. I love bacon.
Thanks, Leslie. Yeah it would be yummy with clams in it as well! 🙂
That bacon cooking in the pot with the onion was enough to make me salivate. Thanks for sharing this one!
Glad you liked it Meg! 🙂 hehe yeah I love bacon and onions.
This was the best! My husband won’t touch the jarred version but had seconds when I made this sauce. Sooo good!
Glad you liked it, Stephanie! 🙂 🙂
I love me a good white sauce pasta! This was easy to make since you broke down all the steps. Plus, thanks for the tip about cooking the pasta one minute less since it’s gonna cook in the sauce. I’m now realizing that’s what I have been doing wrong and then get overcooked pasta!
You are very welcome! Glad you found it helpful. 🙂
I need to double this recipe. My family devoured it and sadly there are no leftovers 🙂
haha awesome, Aimee! 🙂
Looks yum n tadty I like pasta will try it out
Yummy! This looks very simple to try Matt. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much Desi-Ann you are very welcome! 🙂