Under 30 Minutes
This French sauce may sound fancy, but it's actually the base for a range of homey, all-American recipes, such as Creamed Spinach and Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce.Made from butter, milk, flour, and salt -- sometimes with a touch of onion -- bechamel is a mild, creamy sauce you'll use again and again.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 4 cups whole milk
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add flour and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and is the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.
Whisking constantly, pour in 2 cups milk; add 2 more cups milk and whisk until smooth. Cook mixture, stirring constantly along the bottom of pan, until boiling, about 7 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and does not feel grainy when a very small amount is rubbed between two fingers, about 10 minutes.