Béchamel, a flour-thickened milk sauce, is one of the basic “mother sauces” of classic French cooking. It’s found in pasta dishes such as Lasagne alla Bolognese and is often used in creamed-vegetable recipes.
- Yield: 2 cups
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 30 mins
- Active: 20 mins
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/4 cup minced shallots (optional)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups warm whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add shallots (if using) and sauté 2 minutes. Do not let brown.
- Reduce heat to low, add flour, and whisk until smooth and raw taste is cooked off, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add bay leaf and cook until just thickened, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in nutmeg and salt. Season with ground white pepper. Cool sauce slightly. Discard bay leaf before using.