When I was little, and us kids were feeling picky, my mom would make pasta with red sauce and white sauce. Which is to say, she would boil up a big pot of spaghetti, make tomato sauce and cream sauce and let us mix it up as we liked. It was a staple.
And we would pray that there would be leftover cream sauce, because that would mean we would be getting baked potatos with cheesy sauce the next day. Or mac and cheese. Or lasagna.
There are a million uses for cream sauce, or bechamel.
Rich and creamy, it is a simple sauce thickened with flour and made mostly of milk. It’s considered a “mother” sauce in French because it spawns so many others and it is the base for so many dishes.
Once you get the technique down, which won’t take long at all, you’ll find that cooking a bit of flour in butter, and slowly adding in liquid, is the base for stews, soups, and sauces all over the place.
It is one handy trick to have up your sleeve.
2 cups Milk
1 tsp Salt
In a medium pot over medium heat melt the butter.
Add in the flour and stir for a couple minutes, until the mixture is very thick.
Add in a quarter cup of milk and don’t stir. Wait until the whole thing is boiling, and then whisk. Waiting before stirring will ensure that you get no lumps.
It will get super thick. That’s good!
Now add another quarter cup of milk, wait until it boils and stir it.
Keep doing this- the pouring, the waiting, the stirring, until all of the milk is mixed in.
And you’ve mastered a French Mother Sauce! Congrats.