Béchamel sauce starts with a white roux made with flour and fat. Once the raw flavor of the flour cooks out, milk is added to create a decadent sauce. Along with serving as the creamy element in gratins and the delicious glue that holds homemade lasagna together, béchamel is used as the base for countless other sauces including mornay. Although flour, butter, and milk are all you need, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg are also used in this recipe. Salt enhances the sauce’s savory flavor, while freshly grated nutmeg adds complexity and white pepper lends its bright, sharp taste. As for how much milk to use, consider the way you plan to use the béchamel. Add a bit more if making a cheese sauce to maintain a level of fluidity that will lusciously cascade out of your favorite gravy boat or stick with the suggested one cup if using on its own.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
IngredientsYields about 1 cup
⦁ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee
⦁ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
⦁ 1 cup milk, warmed
⦁ Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
⦁ Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1. Heat the butter or ghee in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the flour.
3. Stir frequently with a whisk or rubber spatula until the butter and flour form a thick paste and no raw flour remains. This will take about a minute.
4. Add ¼ cup milk and whisk until the mixture resembles a thick paste.
5. Whisk continuously as you slowly add the remaining milk until the sauce is smooth.
6. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly.
7. Reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 minute.
8. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg then remove from the heat.
Note: Use 1 ¼ cups of milk if adding cheese.
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