White sauce is a versatile base that can be used in lots of dishes, from creamy vegetable bakes to cheesy pasta creations. It's a simple recipe that's well worth keeping in your back pocket
- Serves: 6 persons
- 600ml whole milk
- ½small onion
- 1bay leaf
- 50g unsalted butter
- 40g plain flour
- grating of nutmeg
- pinch of white pepper
Step 1Put the milk in a pan over a low heat. Press the cloves into the onion and add to the milk along with the bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
Step 2In a separate, heavy-based pan, melt the butter over a medium heat until foaming. Sprinkle over the flour and continually stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until the flour absorbs the butter and makes a thick paste. Strain the infused milk into a jug, and add to the roux a splash at a time while continually stirring. Only add a little at first, as you see the flour expand and loosen – if you add the milk too quickly this can make the sauce lumpy. Once the mixture is a little looser, you can add the milk a little more at a time, until it’s all been added.
Step 3Cook the white sauce for 4-5 minutes or until lightly thickened. Season with salt, nutmeg and white pepper. It will thicken up a lot as it cools but can be covered and chilled for up to two days. Reheat, stirring well, adding a splash more milk to loosen.