Don’t be scared by the posh sounding French name of this sauce – it’s one of the simplest sauces you can prepare at home. Even though Béchamel is made from 3 ingredients only, it has a great history and is one of the mother sauces of the French cuisine.
It is used in many Italian recipes too, such as lasagna or pasta all forno. And of course it’s a great base for other sauces.
As I’m deeply attached to the Italian cuisine, I adopted this Mario Batali’s recipe for besciamela (Italian for Béchamel).
This recipe makes around 0,7l of sauce (3 cups) – the quantity you need for 50 x 25 cm (20 x 10 inch) lasagne pan, or lasagna for 6 to 8 serves.
It will take around 20 min to prepare it.
5 tbsp butter
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
In a medium saucepan heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture gets a light, golden sandy color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Heat the milk in a separate pan until it’s just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring constantly, and then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.
If you are not going to use the béchamel immediately, transfer it to a bowl and place plastic wrap directly onto the surface, to prevent forming a skin on top. Leave a bit of space around the edges for the steam to escape while it cools.