Grandma’s Italian besciamella (bechamel sauce). This is a very basic recipe you can use for many different preparations.
I like to flavour the milk for the bechamel sauce with a pinch of nutmeg, but if you do not like nutmeg, you can try with a studded onion instead.
Remember, if you want a more liquid bechamel sauce, add a bit more milk. If you want a thicker sauce, just let it simmer for longer.
Usually, when the bechamel sauce is intended to be used for preparation of lasagne, I try to keep the bechamel sauce a bit liquid in order to moister the lasagne sheets.
- 2 3/8 cups Milk
- 2 ounces Butter
- 1/2 cup Plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- A pinch of nutmeg
Note: the quantities I have given are intended for the preparation of bechamel sauce needed to prepare a 4-6 portions of lasagne.
- Heat the milk. If you are in a hurry, 3 minutes in the microwave should do the job, otherwise heat the milk in a pan. Next, add a pinch of nutmeg.
- Add the salt and stir.
- Put the butter into a saucepan, on a gentle heat, and melt it.
- Once the butter has melted and starts to bubble, gradually add the flour whisking constantly.
- Whisk until all the flour is coated with the butter and the the paste achieve a sandy texture (technically, this is called a white roux). This operation should last a couple of minutes. Next, let the roux to cool down because it is not good practice to add hot milk to a hot roux (risk of burning and the mixture would become too lumpy).
- When the roux and the pan have cooled down, return the pan to the fire and gradually add the milk. Meanwhile keep whisking.
- Once you are sure that the roux is completely mixed with the milk and no lumps are present, turn the heat down to low and gently stir.
- Keep stirring gently until the sauce thickens. Then, you can remove the pan from the heat and set aside (for a perfect smooth sauce, pass the sauce through a strainer). You bechamel sauce is now ready.