Italian White Sauce (Béchamel)
How to Make Easy Béchamel Sauce Recipe
Balsamella or Besciamella is the Italian equivalent of the French Béchamel: a very simple white sauce of flour and milk. The first recorded account of Béchamel sauce is from by the French chef François Pierre La Varenne (1651). The tradition wants it to be invented by the French financier Louis de Béchamel, marquis de Nointel. But many think that “Balsamella” was originally from Tuscany with the name of “Salsa Colla or Colletta” (glue) because of the gluey consistency of the sauce, and that it was brought to France by the chefs of Catherina de’ Medici.
Balsamella (besciamella)is added of Parmigiano cheese, and optionally of nutmeg and or white pepper. It is used in countless Italian recipes such as lasagna and cannelloni, and in gratin of vegetables. The sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated. To prevent it to form a skin on top, press on the surface a sheet of plastic wrap.
4 tablespoons (55 gr) butter
2 oz (60 gr) flour
2¼ cups (500 cc) milk
1 oz (30 gr) parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated
pinch of nutmeg
Place butter in a saucepan and turn the heat to low. When the butter is melted, remove the saucepan from the stove.
Sift the flour into the butter a little at a time .
stirring continuously to combine them.
Add the milk a little at a time.
Put the saucepan back on the stove and slowly stir with a wooden spoon, until the sauce starts boiling and becomes thicker.
Turn heat off. Add salt, and stir in the grated parmigiano cheese and pinch of nutmeg.