(Roux). There are so many variations, and you can experiment and be creative with flavorings.
* 2 tablespoons butter(or oil, but it will change the flavor)
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 cup milk(and/or chicken stock)
See here for complete recipe.
Variations(from bechamel recipe):
* Sauce Aurore (Tomato cream sauce): whisk 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste into 2 cups of béchamel. Serve with eggs, fish, chicken or vegetables.
* Sauce Crème (Cream sauce): stir 1/2 cup of heavy cream and a squeeze of lemon juice into 2 cups of béchamel. Use over vegetables, fish, chicken or eggs.
* Sauce Dijonnaise (Mustard sauce): add 2-4 tablespoons of Dijon or other mustard to 2 cups of béchamel. Good with fish or ham.
* Sauce Mornay (Cheese sauce): stir 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated or crumbled cheese into 2 cups of hot béchamel until it is completely melted. Do not boil or the sauce may become stringy. Good cheeses to try are Parmesan, Swiss, cheddar, or blue cheese. Use a good quality cheese or your sauce may be bland. Use for vegetable gratins, macaroni and cheese, eggs and hors d'oeuvres.
* Sauce Soubise (Creamy onion sauce): slowly sauté about 1 pound of sliced white onions in some butter until they wilt completely. Do not allow them to brown. Add 2 cups of béchamel, cover and simmer slowly about 20-30 minutes. Puree, strain through a sieve and serve. Goes well with fish and poultry. An essential component of veal Orloff.
* À la King: an American invention, it's great for leftovers. Just add about 2 cups of chicken, ham, dried chipped beef, peas, mushrooms, etc., to every cup of béchamel. Simmer together and serve over toast or puff pastry shells.
* Béchamel is ideal for creating vegetable gratins. Simply blanch or slowly sauté some vegetables until they are partially cooked. Spread them in a shallow baking dish. Spread a layer of béchamel over the top and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Place in a 375°F oven and cook until browned on the top.
* Add some chopped ham, chopped parsley, some chopped carrots as optional seasonings if you like.
* A little squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of white wine added at the end can brighten this sauce considerably.
Thicker white sauce recipes, and sauce recipes using white sauce as a base. Here too.
I haven't tried this recipe, but here is a low fat version.