This vegetarian creamy herb pasta dish is the perfect side dish for chicken, for pork, for steak and dare I say it for turkey! Yes this simple pasta side would be perfect on the Holiday table. Or serve it as a quick and easy lunch! The creamy Italian herb sauce is super easy to make and the whole dish can be made in around 10 minutes!
How to make a rich creamy herb sauce without heavy cream
To make the delicious creamy herb sauce for this dish, we use a roux. This is simply a mixture of butter and flour. The butter stops the flour from clumping together when the hot liquid is added giving it chance to swell and thicken the sauce.
People often steer away from sauces thickened with a roux, but they are actually very forgiving. The key is to cook the butter and flour mixture briefly and then add hot liquid to create the sauce.
The liquid we use in this recipe is vegetable broth/stock and then some half and half. (For those watching calories you can use milk)
The dried herbs are added and then the sauce is simmered gently to thicken everything and to soften the herbs.
How many will this dish serve?
Pasta Side Dish
With some grilled chicken and a green salad the creamy herb pasta will easily serve 6 people. Or as part of your holiday table you can happily serve 8 people as they will be eating potato and vegetables as well.
Because this dish is so quick, I will often serve it to the kids for a quick lunch on a Saturday or during the school holidays when they want a break from the term time sandwiches and wraps. The pictures in this post are from one such lunch, hence the small bowl! This is my portion, trying to get a picture of the full pan would have caused a lunchtime met down!
Can I make this ahead?
You definitely can. It reheats well in the microwave or in the oven. I would recommend cooking the pasta slightly less than al dente because reheating will cook the pasta a little more and you don’t want soggy pasta.
BUT!!!!! If you end up with leftovers don’t worry! The wonderful thing about making a cream sauce with a roux is that it will freeze and reheat wonderfully well! Try freezing any leftovers in ramekins, then when you want a comforting quick meal, top with a little cheese and bake.
For another great Pasta Side Dish, why not check out my No Cream Italian Herb Pasta it is great as a side dish for chicken or steak!
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Easy Creamy Herb Pasta
- 4 cups uncooked small shape pasta – see note 1
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- pinch turmeric
- 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
- 1 tsp dried chives
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Bring a big pan of water to the boil, salt it generously and cook the pasta until al-dente.
- Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
Whilst the pasta is cooking make the sauce.
- Melt the butter in a small sauce pan, once it starts to sizzle, reduce the heat and stir in the flour and turmeric.
- Mix them well together and then slowly add in the vegetable broth and whisk until lump free.
- Add the half and half, Italian herbs, chives and garlic powder.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes over a medium low heat.
- Check your seasoning.
- Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir together, adding a splash of the pasta cooking water to get a consistency you like.
- Serve hot.
- Use any small pasta, the pictures here use my favourite Cavatappi, but macaroni, fusilli, rotini, campanelle, or even pasta shells (conchiglie) will work well.