Making a béchamel sauce is easy, and a useful skill to have as it is used in so may dishes – lasagne, seafood mornay and cauliflower cheese to name a few. During the winter months I became addicted to Fennel au Gratin, which is blanched fennel baked with a cheese sauce – delicious!  

This is a recipe for a basic thick béchamel sauce. To make a medium béchamel sauce, reduce the quantity of butter and flour to 40g. The recipe can easily be multiplied for greater quantities.

50g butter
50g flour
500ml milk, warmed
White pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Firstly you need to make a roux, which is a paste of butter and flour. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes or until you have a smooth golden paste (the “roux”), stirring constantly. Gradually add the warm milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring continually, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and nutmeg if desired.

To make a cheese sauce, add 150g grated cheddar or gruyere cheese and stir until melted.

fennel au gratin made using a bechamel sauce
fennel au gratin made using a bechamel sauce

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  1. This is my favorite sauce. Tastes great over vegies with dinner and is super fast and easy to make!

  2. Agreed Olenka, it is a very versatile sauce & not at all difficult to make – you just need to keep stirring!

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