Besciamella Sauce Recipe (white sauce)

The besciamella sauce is an staple in the Italian cuisine, used to make some of the mosts traditional recipes and so easy to prepare at home.

This sauce can be ready in so little time (just about 15 minutes!) and is also pretty versatile so you can use it for many recipes like casseroles and pasta.

For years Italians and French have fought over the invention of this sauce, although the oldest cookbook that contains the recipe for this sauce is of Italian origins and dates back to the 15th century.

But I don’t want to go into details about who owns the invention of the Besciamella recipe, because honestly, who cares?

What I want to tell you is that making this sauce at home is very easy and is by far a lot more delicious than the store-bough version.

How to use besciamella sauce

This sauce is perfect to use in hundreds of recipes, the most popular is undoubtedly Lasagna Bolognese and this sauce is ideal for adding creaminess to many baked dishes or as a white sauce for pasta and pouring over vegetables.

The variations

The recipe for the besciamella sauce has some variations, for example you can add some spoonfuls of pesto to make an amazing besciamella pesto sauce for pasta, or it can be blended with nuts or vegetables to give it a hint of extra flavour.

Sometimes I make cannelloni with mushrooms and blend the sauce with a little of them (sautéed with a little olive oil and salt), so I get a bechamel sauce with mushrooms, or spinach, etc.

But the most popular variant is to add cheese, it can be grated Parmigiano-type cheeses or melting cheeses like Fontina, Gouda, Cheddar, etc.

Besciamella Sauce Recipe

Important: The ingredients list with the exact measurements can be found below, in the recipe card. Please take in mind that while I posted the measurements also in US cups, if you want better results, I strongly suggest to use a kitchen scale instead.

Put the butter in a medium saucepan and melt it over medium heat, stirring from time to time with a whisk.

It is important to moderate the heat well to prevent the butter from burning, so pay attention that the heat is not too high and the butter melts little by little, when you see that it has become liquid and starts to bubble the butter is ready for the next step.

Melting the butter in the pot.

Add the flour slowly while whisking vigorously to avoid the paste from forming lumps.

Adding the flour into the pot.

Let the flour paste cooks for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until it starts to bubble a bit, but be careful and don’t let it brown.

Mixing quickly the flour and butter in the pot.

Pour in the milk little by little while mixing, if the milk is warm there shouldn’t form any lumps.

Adding the milk.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then mix in some nutmeg (it can be ground or freshly grated). Mix throughly to let all all flavours combine.

Adding nutmeg.

Lower the heat, and cook, stirring all the time for about 10 minutes until you’ll be left with a smooth, creamy and thick sauce.

Showing the besciamella sauce consistency.

Turn off the heat and adjust with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pay attention to the taste as the besciamella sauce should have a smooth and delicate flavour with hints of butter and milk.

Adding white pepper.

Tips & Tricks

  • Lumps: If a few lumps have formed, you can use an immersion blender to fix the sauce.
  • To store the sauce: You first have to let it cool completely, then put it in the refrigerator where it can last three to four days.
  • Freeze it: If you want you can also freeze it and when you need it, defrost it in the refrigerator the day before using it, then warm it up slightly by adding a splash of milk.
  • Enhance it: Depending on the recipe in which you are going to use the sauce, you can flavor it by heating the milk with various spices and aromatic herbs, including garlic and onion.
  • The skin: Once the besciamella sauce is ready, just let it cool covered with cling film, making sure that it is in contact with the sauce to avoid a hard skin layer from forming on the surface.

Besciamella Sauce Recipe

The besciamella sauce is an staple in the Italian cuisine, used to make some of the mosts traditional recipes and so easy to prepare at home.
PREP 5 minutes
COOK 15 minutes
TOTAL 20 minutes
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Servings: 1

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups (1lt) whole milk
  • cup (100 gr) all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 5 tbsp (100 gr) butter
  • nutmeg (to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  • Put the butter in a medium saucepan and melt it over medium heat, stirring from time to time with a whisk.
  • It is important to moderate the heat well to prevent the butter from burning, so pay attention that the heat is not too high and the butter melts little by little, when you see that it has become liquid and starts to bubble the butter is ready for the next step.
  • Add the flour slowly while whisking vigorously to avoid the paste from forming lumps.
  • Let the flour paste cooks for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until it starts to bubble a bit, but be careful and don’t let it brown.
  • Pour in the milk little by little while mixing, if the milk is warm there shouldn’t form any lumps.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, then mix in some nutmeg (it can be ground or freshly grated). Mix throughly to let all all flavours combine.
  • Lower the heat, and cook, stirring all the time for about 10 minutes until you’ll be left with a smooth, creamy and thick sauce.
  • Turn off the heat and adjust with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pay attention to the taste as the besciamella sauce should have a smooth and delicate flavour with hints of butter and milk.

notes

  • Lumps: If a few lumps have formed, you can use a mixer or blender to fix the sauce.
  • To store the sauce: You first have to let it cool completely, then put it in the refrigerator where it can last three to four days.
  • Freeze it: If you want you can also freeze it and when you need it, defrost it in the refrigerator the day before using it, then warm it up slightly by adding a splash of milk.
  • Enhance it: Depending on the recipe in which you are going to use the sauce, you can flavor it by heating the milk with various spices and aromatic herbs, including garlic and onion.
  • The skin: Once the besciamella sauce is ready, just let it cool covered with cling film, making sure that it is in contact with the sauce to avoid a hard skin layer from forming on the surface.
Nutrition
Calories: 1700kcal
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