White Cheddar Pepper Pasta

Creamy white cheddar sauce mixed with rotini and sweet, crunchy peppers.

White Cheddar Pepper Pasta

When we were younger my mom would make this white cheddar pepper pasta with the tri color rotini, for our love of colorful foods! It’s one of my favorite pasta dishes of hers (second after her famous spinach lasagna). Every time I make it I can taste a part of my childhood…that’s food memories for you!

White Cheddar Pepper PastaWhite Cheddar Pepper Pasta
What I love about this dish is how simple it is to put together and how you can add as many vegetables as you like. It tastes great with sautéed mushrooms, roasted broccoli and even some tender zucchini. During the summer adding sweet peppers is a must for me, especially because they are in season and so flavorful. I sauté them in a bit of olive oil just until they get a slight char around the edges before tossing them in the pasta. The cheese sauce comes together quickly by starting a roux and adding in some high quality cheese. For this recipe I used New York Vintage from Cabot’s Legacy collection, it’s a bold yet smooth cheese that is perfect for this sauce.

White Cheddar Pepper Pasta White Cheddar Pepper Pasta
This white sauce is also known as mornay sauce and starts off as a béchamel sauce, which has it’s origin in French cuisine. Classic béchamel is made with butter, flour and milk, when you add cheese it becomes a mornay sauce. While it tastes great on pasta you can also add it to your favorite roast vegetables for a cheesy treat. My mom used to serve us roasted broccoli and cauliflower with this sauce as kids. I also love it on grilled asparagus.

White Cheddar Pepper Pasta White Cheddar Pepper Pasta

White Cheddar Pepper Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Creamy white cheddar sauce mixed with rotini and sweet, crunchy peppers.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rotini pasta
  • 2 cups whole milk, warm
  • 1 cup mixed sweet peppers; sliced
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese; grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt; adjust to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg; freshly grated
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Method
  1. Boil the pasta until al dente, according to instructions on the package. Drain, reserving one cup of pasta water for later.
  2. In a sauce pan heat the olive oil in medium high heat. Add the sweet peppers and cook for two minutes, until they are slightly charred yet still crisp. Remove the peppers from saucepan and set aside.
  3. To the same sauce pan, reduce heat to medium and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add in the flour.
  4. Whisk the flour continuously, using a wire whisk for around one minute or until the flour becomes golden pink. Whisking continuously is extremely important to getting a smooth and creamy sauce.
  5. Slowly stream in the in the milk while whisking to combine. Let the sauce simmer for two minutes. The sauce will thicken and coat the back of the spoon.
  6. Add the garlic powder, salt, black pepper and red chili flakes (if using) and mix.
  7. Let the sauce simmer on low heat another minute or so and then add the cheese and mix until it melts.
  8. Stir in the boiled pasta and the sauteed veggies. Toss until the pasta and veggies are coated with the sauce. If the sauce is too thick add in some of the reserved pasta water to adjust. Taste test and adjust the seasonings at this point.
  9. Serve hot with some fresh basil and enjoy.

 

White Cheddar Pepper Pasta

 

 

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