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Bechamel Sauce for Artichoke Bottoms au Gratin

Use this recipe when making our Artichoke Bottoms au Gratin.

  • Yield: Makes 4 cups

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 1997


  • 1 tablespoon diced shallots
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk, scalded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere


  1. In a large saucepan, saute shallots in butter over medium heat until translucent, without browning, 3 to 5 minutes.

  2. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne. Mix; reduce heat as much as possible.

  3. Add flour in thirds, whisking constantly. When fully incorporated, cook without browning, 3 to 5 minutes, until floury taste is gone.

  4. Add milk in thirds, whisking constantly. Texture should be thick with no lumps. Add bay leaf; continue to cook 7 to 10 minutes.

  5. Strain through a sieve; add cheese while bechamel is still hot. Adjust seasoning to taste. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of sauce, and refrigerate up to three days.

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