Recipe for Bechamel Sauce With Herbs

Fresh Butter courtesy of MorguefileBechamel sauce, white sauce, is one of the most basic sauces used in cooking. It's an easy sauce to make if you remember to keep stirring the ingredients throughout. Never stop stirring, use medium heat, and pick a thick pan that will evenly distribute the heat.

Some b├ęchamel recipes call for heavy cream, while others make due with whole milk. Some will even cheat and use milk, but up the butter requirement. The mouth feel of the sauce is improved 100% if you use cream instead of milk. I usually compromise and use a combination of milk and half-and-half. For special occasions, I use cream with half-and-half.

Bechamel Sauce

½ Stick butter
¼ Cup all-purpose flour
1 Cup cream (or milk)
1 Cup half-and-half
Pinch fresh nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper (To avoide black specks, use white pepper.)
¼ tsp. ground thyme

Instructions for Bechamel Sauce (White Sauce)

In a saucepan, melt butter and add flour, whisking until smooth. Continue cooking until the mixture (roux) bubbles vigorously. While stirring, add cream and half-and-half slowly. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Stir in nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper.

Special Note: You can use whole milk instead of cream, but the half-and-half is a really important element of a creamy sauce. Of course, with cream the sauce is amazing, but – well, you know.

Alfredo Sauce for Tortellini

I use this base when making Alfredo sauce, too, but I drop the thyme and add ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano if I can find it. It makes a great sauce for tortellini – heck, it makes a great sauce for just about anything.

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