Sorry, no picture for this post. Though this recipe is really a quickie and part of my ongoing series of Lasagne al Forno posts, I thought it might be easier to do a separate post for this last ingredient.
Balsamella, more widely known as bechamel, is a thickened milk sauce with a wide variety of uses. One of the four ‘mother sauces,’ balsamella uses a roux mixture to thicken milk, creating a velvety sauce or base for such dishes as cannelloni, macaroni and cheese, creamy sauces, and more. Depending on the ratio of flour and butter used to milk, this sauce can range from thin to rather thick and may be used plain or flavored with herbs, spices, cheese, and more.
For my Lasagne al Forno, I needed a creamy balsamella that was somewhere in the middle. While I didn’t want the sauce to run all over the place once I sliced the lasagne, I also didn’t want something overly gloppy. The recipe below provided a wonderful creaminess to my lasagne, a nice departure from the ricotta or even cottage cheese layers some recipes include.
Makes 2 cups
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle over the flour and whisk for 1-2 minutes. The roux may become golden, but don’t let it get brown. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking as you do. Continue to stir until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, about 10 minutes or so. Control the heat as needed to prevent boiling and scorching. Season with salt and pepper to taste.