Simple white sauce

I love this white sauce because with just a little effort it can become an unctuous cheese sauce for a pie or pasta; a flavourful parsley sauce to dress fish; the perfect white sauce for lasagne; a pepper sauce for a steak or whatever else your imagination can come up with.

That said, it really is just a plain white sauce formed from a simple roux.  There really is nothing to it, and with just a few additions it can be transformed.

I always add a little salt and pepper to the sauce as it simmers and usually a little nutmeg and cinnamon if it is to be a cheese sauce or stay as a white sauce.  Add peppercorns  to make a pepper sauce, parsley to make a great fish sauce or anything you fancy really.

A way to make this much more luxurious, infuse your milk before you use it, though remember to let it cool right down again before making the sauce.  For the infusion heat the milk with a slice of onion, some peppercorns, parsley stalks and a bay leaf.  This makes the sauce so much better, but even without this step the sauce is fine.

My mom always insisted that the milk should be added off the heat, but I have found that,for me,  leaving it on the heat and whisking constantly makes a much smoother sauce.  And in sauces smooth is definitely better.

Chicken Divan Pie with creamy white sauce

Chicken Divan Pie with creamy white sauce

Basic White Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 pint milk

Melt the butter slowly in a medium pan.

Add the flour and whisk to incorporate into butter.  Let this mixture “cook” for about two minutes over the low heat to allow the flour taste to cook out.

Add a dash of cold milk and whisk into the flour and butter mixture until smooth.  Gradually add the rest of the milk, whisking constantly over the low heat.

Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce gains the consistency you want.

Use as needed.