Serving

Besciamella Sauce
Italy   Besciamella     France
  -   Sauce béchamel
Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
2 cups  
**
25 min  
Yes
This Italian sauce, formerly called Balsamella, was adopted by the French under the name Béchamel. There is disagreement as to how to keep it from getting lumps, see Note-1, and see Note-2 on thickness.






2-1/2
4
6
1/3
1/4
1/16
c
T
T
t
t
t
Milk
Butter (3)
Flour
Salt
Pepper, white
Nutmeg
  1. Keep Milk well chilled.
  2. Melt Butter over moderate heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir in Flour and cook stirring constantly for a couple of minutes until the flour is a light blonde color (no browing at all) and no longer smells raw. This is called a "blonde roux".
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the chilled Milk all at once. Return to the heat and stir constantly until the sauce thickens and becomes smooth, about 10 minutes.
  4. Season with Salt, White Pepper and Nutmeg.
  5. If you need to hold the sauce, cover the surface with plastic film, or otherwise protect it from air. It can be refrigerated overnight - reheat very slowly with plenty of stirring.
NOTES:
  1. Method:   Most recipes tell you to heat the milk to a simmer, then stir it into the roux starting with fractions of a teaspoon and adding slowly increasing amounts until it is all stirred in. Mapie, Countess de Toulouse-Lautrec, says you will be much more successful stirring chilled milk into the hot roux all at once. Alma Lach concurrs. These are two of the formost experts in the French cuisine, and it works for me, so I give that method here. If you do get any lumps, strain them out.
  2. Thickness:   This sauce can be made a little thicker by using a bit more flour, but also add a little butter as the weight of flour must not exceed the weight of butter.
  3. Butter:   In Provence, France, Olive Oil may be used in place of the butter.
  4. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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