Besciamella is a sauce, you don’t eat it as is. You use it for preparations like lasagne or manicotti or cannelloni. In America, besciamella has been substituted with mozzarella and ricotta which is the way Italian-American lasagne is defined (with a lot of cheese). The Italian lasagne doesn’t have that much cheese, only some parmesan to add saltiness and flavor. The fluffiness and richness is from besciamella, which is easy to make.
Yields: 3 cups / Prep time: 5 minutes / Cook time: 20 minutes
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1In a small saucepan, warm up the milk over medium heat.
2In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the flour.
3Add the warm milk to the butter-flour mixture and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened.
4Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Taste to ensure the flour flavor has dissipated. If you still taste the flour, cook a few minutes longer.
For a thicker besciamella, add 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon of flour and cook for a few minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
To thin a sauce, add 1 tablespoon milk (or 2 if needed).