When Tim Larsen told me about his go-to meal, pasta with white sauce, my inner three year old shuddered. I have never liked white sauce. I imagine pools of butter and grease at Olive Garden or that bland jarred stuff you can get from the store. But, as part of the local chef series, I always make the go-to recipe, so I knew I would have to do it.
Hours before I was going to make it, I called one of my best friends and confided that I was really dreading it. “I hate white sauce,” I told her, “I don’t know what I am doing. How will I even know if I mess it up?” She has much more faith in me than I do and tried to talk up white sauce. “You’ll be fine. We had it all the time at home,” she said, “and I still make it on a regular basis. It’s really good.”
I sighed, I huffed, and eventually it was dinnertime. I chopped the onions and garlic, got all my spices out, sampled some of the wine (liquid courage), and pulled the cream out of the fridge. Once the onions were golden, I added wine, spices, and the cream. The most amazing sweet and spicy smells start wafting through the air. I sampled it and I was a goner. This was really, really good. Six separate times while my pasta was cooking, I said to Manatee, “Hey, I actually like this. You got to try this. Isn’t it amazing?” I think he got a little annoyed. It’s probably not surprising that I couldn’t find the bottle of wine when I needed to refill my glass.
This is a great go-to recipe when you want some comfort food with little effort and a few ingredients. Add in some steamed veggies and protein to make an impressive, guest-worthy dinner.
Tim’s Spiced Creamy White Sauce
Time: 30 minutes (including chopping)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
- Add oil to saute pan at medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic.
- Cook until golden, stirring often, approximately 8-10 minutes.
Tip: Once the onions turn golden, start your pasta water.
- Add white wine to deglaze the pan.This just means to add the wine and then stir up all the bits of onion and garlic that are stuck to the pan.
- Add spices and cream. Stir so that it is evenly mixed.
- Turn down to medium low to simmer while the pasta cooks.
- Toss with pasta. Enjoy!
Recipe Review: I tossed the sauce with udon noodles, steamed broccoli, and steam red bell peppers, then I topped it with some Parmesan cheese and served it over spinach. YUM! This was a rich dish and yes, it does use heavy cream, but you don’t need a lot of sauce. You are probably eating about 1/3 cup of the cream. It tastes way more rich and naughty than just a little heavy cream.
The spices really add a lot to the dish. White pepper is a great spice to keep on hand. It adds a subtle heat and milder taste than black pepper. The nutmeg adds a warm, spicy, sweetness to the dish. I had never had white pepper and nutmeg together before, now I never want to have them apart. They complement each other really well.
Thanks Chef Tim!