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Sauces The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan


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Servings: 6

This version of the bechamel sauce is from Marcella Hazan's cookbook. Use another you are familar with--or compare this with others.

2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
teaspoon salt

In a small pan, heat the milk until it comes to the very edge of a boil.

While you are heating the milk, melt the butter over low heat in a heavy enameled iron saucepan of 4 to 6 cups capacity. When the butter is melted, add all the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Let the butter and flour bubble for 2 minutes without ceasing to stir. Do not let the flour become colored.

Turn off the heat and add the hot milk 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring it constantly into the flour-and-butter mixture. As soon as the first 2 tablespoons have been incorporated into the mixture, add another 2 tablespoons, always stirring with your trusty spoon. When you have added cup milk to the mixture, you can start adding cup at a time, until you have added it all. (Never add more than cup at one time.)

When all the milk has been incorporated, turn on the heat to low, add the salt, and stir-cook until the sauce is as dense as thick cream. If you need it thinner, cook a little less.

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