If you are planning to cook lasagna for dinner you will need to prepare bechamel sauce. Maybe you are cooking a soup and you need to make it thicker? Then bechamel sauce is your answer. Bechamel sauce is over 300 years old, and its roots are from the French cuisine. In few words you get bechamel sauce when you add milk into a roux.
It is a sauce that is a foundation of many white sauces or sauce blanche. It is made from even amounts of flour and butter cooked in a milk.
Those are the three basic ingredients. To this you can add other ingredients and change the taste and flavor of this sauce. There are some recipes where you fry onion with the butter first.
Laurel bay leafs and grated nutmeg are also used. Some recipes need a bechamel sauce prepared with smoked meat. Some add egg and grated yellow cheese.
The base of bechamel sauce is roux or rue and it is made from equal parts of butter and flour by weight. Roux can also been prepared from oil and flour but it usually needs more flour to make it smooth.
Roux is prepared when we whisk butter and flour in a pan on medium heat until we have one smooth and light brown base for the sauce. You can stop the cooking process at this step and keep your roux in the refrigerator.
Just remember to take it out of the refrigerator at least half an hour before you use it. You can use it later to prepare more bechamel sauce, or to put some of the roux in a pan where you cook vegetables or meat and it will thicken your sauce and help you make your meal taste and look better.
The safest dosage that will give you perfect sauce for lasagna, pastitsio and another casserole dishes is 1 litre milk and 120 gr. roux ( 60 gr, butter and 60 gr flour)
How to prepare bechamel sauce:
STEP 1: you will need a pan with heavy bottom.
STEP 2: put the milk in another pan and make it hot but do not let it boil.
STEP3: whisk the flour with the butter or oil until you have roux with the colour you desire.
STEP4: gradually add the hot milk while stirring, and continue cooking the sauce until it is thick enough for you.
STEP5: if you are not going to use it immediately, stir it occasionally until it is cold. Bechamel sauce can be refrigerated for 2 days. Cut a peace of food wrap and put it on the top of the sauce. That way you will avoid stirring the sauce until it is cold enough.
The most frequent usage of bechamel sauce is in : vegetable Au gratin, Au gratin pasta, soups, it gives you moisture if you use it in pie feelings, stuffing for ravioli.
You could also add bechamel sauce to improve the thickness and flavour or many cooked dishes.
It is many times a foundation of a good souffle. And you can always replace heavy cream if you want to avoid calories and fat and you want still to have that creamy look and taste in your dishes.