Béchamel is a basic white sauce used in French and Italian cooking. It is very versatile and is used as the base of many sauces. For example, macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pie, and traditional lasagna verde. The béchamel starts with a roux (butter and flour) cooked and mixed with milk to form a thick, creamy base to which you can add a variety of ingredients to form other sauces. The roux is what thickens the sauces so that they adhere to pasta, vegetables, and meats.
1 – stick of unsalted butter
6 – tbls. all-purpose flour
4 – cups whole milk
1/4 – tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (or to taste)
1 – tsp. salt (or to taste)
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat (be careful not to let it burn). Add the flour a little at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until it turns a light, golden color, about 5 – 6 minutes.
While you are preparing the roux heat the milk in another pan, but do not let it boil. Once the roux is ready, add the hot milk a little at a time, whisking constantly until it becomes smooth and creamy. Continue to cook the sauce on a low flame for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add salt and nutmeg. It is ready to use.
Note: If you are making the Lasagna Verde recipe, you will need to double this recipe.