Creamy Penne Pasta • Salt & Lavender

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Chef Notes
Cooking Type
Date Made
Salt and Lavender
Rating /5
This creamy penne pasta recipe is a super quick and simple dish that's ready in about 20 minutes! Great for a meatless main course or side.
A piping hot bowl of this creamy garlic penne recipe can be on your table in as long as it takes to boil and cook the pasta. It uses ingredients you're likely to have on hand already. My kinda weeknight meal!
This sauce is pretty straightforward to make. You start by melting some butter in a skillet, then you add flour (make a roux), and then the garlic, wine (or chicken/veg broth) is added in and cooked down until it's somewhat thickened. At that point, you add the cream and Italian seasoning in and continue cooking until it's thickened up some more. Once the sauce has reached your desired thickness a few minutes later, you take the pan off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, and then add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated.

Recipe notes & tips:

  • This is a pretty basic garlic cream sauce, so you can definitely add more seasonings if you feel like it. You need a decent amount of salt in cream sauces (or else they can be a bit bland), so don't be shy. Taste and adjust!
  • I recommend grating your own parmesan cheese. The powdered stuff is no comparison! I always keep a block in my fridge and use my Microplane to grate it.
  • I don't recommend subbing the cream with a lower fat alternative as the sauce may curdle and/or not thicken as well.
  • The tiny amount of lemon juice helps the sauce taste a little less one-dimensional.
  • You could add some cooked chicken or shrimp to this sauce.
  • Feel free to swap out the penne for another shape of pasta if you wish.
  • If the sauce gets too thick, add in a splash of the hot pasta water to thin it out. Keep in mind that cream sauces thicken up more as they cool.


  • 8 ounces uncooked penne
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken/veg broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley optional, to taste


  • Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
  • When the pasta is about 10 minutes away from being done, add the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it melts, sprinkle the flour in and cook for about 1 minute, stirring fairly often.
  • Add in the garlic, followed by the wine (or broth) and lemon juice. Let it bubble until it's reduced by half (about 30 sec - 1 minute).
  • Whisk in the cream so the flour dissolves completely, then stir in the Italian seasoning. Cook it for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened up to your liking.
  • Stir in the parmesan cheese and take the skillet off the heat. Season with salt & pepper as needed (I am generous with both).
  • Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated (I like to add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the sauce prior to draining it, especially if it's become a tad too thick). Garnish with more parmesan and a bit of chopped parsley if you like. Serve immediately.