Béchamel Sauce is a sauce traditionally made from a white roux (butter and flour in a 1:1 mixture) and milk with a long history of use in multiple countries, it may also be referred to as besciamella in Italy, or besamel in Greece, or a white sauce in the U.S.A Regardless of the style of cuisine, a Béchamel Sauce is a very versatile white sauce that's used in many different dishes. It is terrific in lasagna dishes -- such as the Zucchini and Eggplant Lasagna (and you can easily access that recipe by clicking on those recipe title)-- because it provides a rich, creamy flavor. It is also terrific in creamy pasta dishes, such as our Creamy Baked Pasta and Cheese / Pasta E Formaggio al Forno (and you can easily access that recipe by clicking on those recipe title).
No special culinary equipment is needed to make this wonderful, and versatile, white sauce.
4 tablespoons of Butter
4 tablespoons of All-Purpose Flour
1 cup of Half and Half **
1-½ cups of Whole Milk
¼ teaspoon of Nutmeg, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon of White Pepper
Salt and additional White or Black Pepper to taste
** -- All Whole Milk can be used as a substitute, but using the Half and Half will create a more "creamy" sauce.
Optional Additions to the Recipe:
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Add ¼-½ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated (Depending on what you plan to use the sauce for, you may want to add the cheese; it is not in a traditional Béchamel Sauce, but it is a nice addition in some recipes.)
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and the Half and Half together, but be careful not to boil it; the milk should be bubbling around the edges, but not boiling. Once the milk and the Half and Half are bubbling around the edges, turn the heat down slightly, but keep it hot – again, avoid boiling it. In a different medium-size saucepan, melt the butter and once it is melted, add the flour – whisking it constantly until the flour turns a light brown and begins to produce a bit of a nutty aroma. At this point, slowly add the milk, and continue to whisk continuously until the milk is completely incorporated. Whisk in the nutmeg, the white pepper and any additional salt or pepper to taste. Add any of the optional ingredients as well, by whisking them into the mixture. The Béchamel Sauce is now ready to use.