I think this may have been the first recipe we covered in our school Home Economics class … or was that scones? Either way, once you’ve mastered this easy sauce you can use it for a multitude of things! Handy, right? White sauce (also known as béchamel sauce) can be used in pasta and veggie dishes, soups, gravies and as a base for other sauces.
I’ve given you a basic recipe below, as well as some ideas for variations.
Makes about 280ml
2 tablespoons plain flour
Step 1.) Melt the butter in a saucepan, then whisk in the flour to form a smooth paste. Allow the mixture to cook for a minute or two – this is known as a roux.
Step 2.) Remove the pan from the heat, add a pinch of salt then gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth mixture. Return the pan to the heat and continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened, this should only take a couple of minutes.
And you’re done – easy peasy! This recipe is for a medium white sauce, for a thinner sauce use just 1 tablespoon of butter and flour to 250ml milk.
Choices, choices! Here are some variations to the basic recipe:
Cheese sauce – once the sauce has thickened take it off the heat and stir in 50g grated cheese. A sharp cheddar works brilliantly. Keep stirring until the cheese has melted and you have a smooth sauce.
Use to make make macaroni cheese or cauliflower bake, or spoon over baked potatoes.
Mushroom sauce – Heat a dash of olive oil in your saucepan and add 1 finely chopped clove of garlic and 2 cups of thinly sliced button mushrooms (about 160g). Cook until the mushrooms are soft then take off the heat and set aside. Make your white sauce as normal and once thickened stir in the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Stir in a teaspoon of chopped parsley and season to taste.
Delicious on steak, burgers or chicken schnitzel.
Parsley sauce – stir 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley into your thickened white sauce and season to taste.
Perfect for fish!