Béchamel, a flour-thickened milk sauce, is one of the basic “mother sauces” of classic French cooking. It’s found in pasta dishes such as Lasagne alla Bolognese and is often used in creamed-vegetable recipes.
- 1Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add shallots (if using) and sauté 2 minutes. Do not let brown.
- 2Reduce heat to low, add flour, and whisk until smooth and raw taste is cooked off, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add bay leaf and cook until just thickened, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
- 3Stir in nutmeg and salt. Season with ground white pepper. Cool sauce slightly. Discard bay leaf before using.