I’m planning to bake lasagna this weekend and I thought well maybe I can share one of the component of the recipe, that is the bechamel sauce also known as white sauce. If you do not know this, bechamel sauce is a layer of sauce incorporated in lasagna recipe, normally as a base before your line your casserole with the first layer of lasagna and top it off before sprinkle the cheese on top of the last layer.
This sauce is typically used as a base of many French cuisine but the Italians adopted it and is one of the basic foundation of baking a lasagna (I will talk about it more on detail in another post).
So what is bechamel sauce? It is basically scalded milk mixed with butter and flour until it reaches a consistency that you want. I found the basic recipe here but it lacks in flavor so I came up with something a little bit different, though common. My recipe below is perfect for lasagna.
- 5 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- 4 cups low fat milk
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
In a saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat until melted but not browned. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook until the mixture turns light about 5 minutes.
In another saucepan, heat milk just before it reaches boiling point. At milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, consistently stirring with a whisk to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes until it becomes thick and leaves a thick film on your spoon when..err..spooned (umm..i’m not sure this word is appropriate for recipe instructions but I think you got what i mean, right?). Season with salt and nutmeg and set aside.
Other usage of bechamel sauce:
Add some of your favorite cheese and turn it into toppings for veggies such as carrots, potatoes or broccolis.
Add some gruyere cheese and leeks, perfect for grilled fish/chicken gravy.
Add some pureed walnuts, garlic, parsley, ricotta and turn it into walnut sauce for pasta.
It really is versatile. Maybe you can come up with your own recipe :) Also, this sauce can be made few days in advance. Make sure you cover with cling film and keep it refrigerated.