Besciamella, also known as béchamel sauce, is a creamy white sauce made from butter, flour, and milk. It is a versatile sauce used in a variety of dishes, including lasagna, pasta bakes, and gratins. The sauce is made by cooking butter and flour together to form a roux, then gradually adding milk to create a smooth, creamy sauce. Besciamella is known for its rich, velvety texture and its ability to add a creamy, comforting element to a wide range of dishes.
Besciamella: How to Make Bechamel Sauce
- 500 ml 2 cups of milk
- 50 g 1,7 ounce or ¼ cup of unsalted butter
- 50 g 1,7 ounce or 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
- freshly grated nutmeg
- Parmigiano reggiano cheese optional
- Get ready with all the ingredients. Then in a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Now add the flour, better if you use a flour sieve, in this way you are sure that no lumps are formed. Mix quickly (but very quickly) with a whisk. Stir until the mixture is smooth and without lumps.
- This is the time when you have to be more careful. Cook for 30 sec/1 min so the flour becomes tastier and absorb the butter fats. The mixture of butter and flour is called roux and it should be a nice golden color; you can even use it to thicken other sauces or gravy! Now set aside and let it cool.
- Meanwhile heat the milk, without bringing to a boil. Pour the milk slowly over the roux, while stirring vigorously with a whisk to prevent the formation of lumps.
- When the milk is completely poured over the roux sauce, put the saucepan back on low heat. Keep mixing constantly, until you have a fairly thick consistency (about 10/15 minutes). The sauce is ready when it sticks to the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add a pinch of fine salt and grated nutmeg to taste. For an even richer flavor, add a little Parmigiano reggiano cheese (optional). Italian béchamel sauce is ready to use.
Storing and Reheating
- You can make Bechamel ahead of time. So once cold, it can be kept in the refrigerator, closed in an airtight container, for a maximum of 2-3 days.
- The best thing to do is to transfer the bechamel into a bowl and cover it with cling film that is in contact with the sauce (otherwise a denser layer will form on the surface). If this happens, remove it before serving. In fact, if you break it and mix it with the rest of the white sauce, you’ll have many small clumps of clotted bechamel!
- Béchamel sauce can be frozen and kept in the freezer for about 1 month.
- If necessary, you can reheat the white sauce in a saucepan over low heat: it’ll return smooth and creamy just working it with the whips of an electric mixer; you can add a little milk to make it more fluid.