béchamel sauce …

March 11, 2010

Béchamel Sauce, (pronounced bay-shah-mel) or white sauce is one of the mother sauces of French and some Italian cuisine.  It is typically used as a base for other sauces, and is traditionally made whisking scalded milk into a roux, or butter and flour mixture.
The origins of the sauce can be sketchy, but as far as we can tell it was invented by Louis de Béchameil, and it was an improvement of a sauce imported from Italy to France during the reign of the queen of France, Italian Catherine de Medici.
I love using a basic Béchamel Sauce as a base for many dishes.  The possibilities are endless, really.
A great basic Béchamel Sauce can be found here, from Mario Batali of the Food Network.
Here’s a recipe I made using a basic Béchamel Sauce.  I opted to skip the butter and make it a little healthier.
Penne Pasta with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Asparagus in a White Sauce }
Serves 4-6
1 12oz box of Penne Pasta, cooked according to package directions
10 medium to large baby bella mushrooms, sliced
15-20 medium stems asparagus, sliced 1 inch long on an angle
2 large chicken breasts, cooked, cut in small pieces [I boiled mine in water]
1-2 tbs olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
directions
In a large skilled heat olive oil over medium heat.  add asparagus, onions, and mushrooms.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes.  Add cooked chicken.  Mix, and remove from heat and set aside.
Place flour in a medium saucepan.   In a separate saucepan, heat milk until it is just about to boil.  Add milk one cup at a time to the flour whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Let bubble for about two minutes or until sauce thickens and is smooth.  Remove from heat.  Stir in parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and red pepper flakes.  Add the white sauce to the asparagus and mushroom mixture.  Stir well, then serve over cooked pasta immediately.
enjoy!

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