Bechamel Sauce Recipe - Italian Food

What is Bechamel Sauce?

Alessandro Clemente

Bechamel Sauce: Three Suggested Recipes

If you love lasagna or cannelloni, we bet that you’re a bechamel sauce fan too! You don’t know what we talking about? Bechamel is one of the famous “salse madri” - mother of sauces - a secret ingredient that can help enhance the deliciousness of your dish. Ready for a new culinary journey? Let’s explore together, the history of this ancient sauce and learn about three suggested recipes using Bechamel sauce to conquer your guests' palates and win over Italian food enthusiasts!

Once upon a time

The name of Francois Pierre De La Varenne sounds familiar to your ears? If not, we will enlighten you! He was born in 1615 and has been one of the great inventors of Modern Gastronomy. He wrote and published a famous cookbook: “Le Cuisinier François”.

This book contains many interesting, delicious recipes and had become a great success in France in the 1700s. In this collection of recipes, De La Varenne represents many famous and well-known sauces. One of these sauces is well known as 'Bechamel sauce'.

He devoted this sauce to the memory of Louis de Bechamel, marquees of Nointel. In fact, the original recipe came from Caterina De’ Medici and her royal cooks. When she became betrothed to the duke of Orleans, Caterina moved to France with master Chefs from Tuscany and Sicily.

They were accustomed to using a special sauce, called “salsa collosa” that we can translate literally as the 'gluey sauce'. The main ingredients of this sauce were milk, stock, different spices and heavy cream. These are basically the same ingredients that you need to use for the Bechamel sauce!

Bechamel Sauce Recipe

Let’s come back to the present and explore this super easy recipe of "how to make Bechamel sauce". The first thing to do is to create the roux. Basically, the roux is a mix, created with flour (you can use 00 flour or even gluten-free flour) and butter.

Italian flour for bechamel sauce

They need to be cooked together to create a thickening agent. Put equal parts of butter and flour in a pan a boil them for few minutes and your roux will be ready. 

Now you can add to this mix to the milk and stir all the ingredients until they become a creamy sauce. Your Bechamel sauce is now ready. If you want to make it tastier, you can add a teaspoon of nutmeg to your Bechamel sauce. It will enhance the flavor of the sauce and give it a spicy sprint.

Three Delicious Bechamel Sauce Dishes 

1. Truffled Mushroom Lasagna

Classic lasagna lovers beware! This recipe doesn’t contain any tomato sauce, like Mutti cherry tomatoes sauce or the exquisite San Marzano tomatoes by Poma Rosa. This time we want to try something different, a white lasagna for instance. This is a noteworthy recipe and you might want to save it for later and share with your friends and family!

Italian flour for lasagna

To create this unforgettable dish you’ll need the following ingredients, which you can get from our Italian Supermarket:

If you prefer, you can make your own homemade lasagna sheets, but for a quicker recipe and if it is your first time, it’s better to use the oven ready ones. You can find different types of lasagna sheets at our online grocery store.

In a large skillet put your medium onions, once you’ve peeled and finely chopped them and then add the olive oil and 200 grams of freshly chopped mushrooms. Sauté for 10 minutes, over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and some herbs too, like thyme or parsley.

Once the mushrooms are ready, put them in a bowl. If you want to create homemade bechamel sauce these are the main ingredients that go into it's beautiful creation:

  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ cup of 00 flour
  • 4 cups of milk 

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Once the butter is completely melted add the flour, gradually and mix it with a wooden spoon. Cook slowly for a minute, then start adding the milk. Slick tip: Keep whisking it to prevent lumps. Simmering this sauce is the secret to producing a delicious and tasty bechamel sauce. Once the sauce is ready, pour it into a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.

bechamel sauce recipe

It's time for the lasagna sheets to be precooked for 30 seconds and dry them out. Set apart the lasagna sheets on kitchen towels.

Take a 8x11 cooking pan or deep dish and prepare for the oven. Dish 2 cups of bechamel sauce into the pot, then spread it all over the bottom. Cover the sauce with a layer of lasagna sheet, add your fresh mushrooms mix and then the 50 gm of truffle sauce. You're ready for the next layer. Basically repeat the same process as the first layer: lasagna sheet + bechamel sauce + mushrooms mix.

Once you’ve used all the lasagna sheets, you can add the Parmigiano Reggiano on top.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. and bake this exquisite truffled mushroom lasagna for about 45 minutes. Once it’s ready, turn off the oven and leave the lasagna inside for 20 minutes before cutting it. We suggest you eat the lasagna at room temperature. 

2. Stuffed Conchiglioni

One of our favorite Italian pasta is conchiglioni. Literally, you can translate this word as “shells”. These shell-like pasta noodles are perfect to stuff with other delicious ingredients. You can use different types of pasta but this one is the perfect companion for your bechamel sauce.

Once you’ve found this pasta from Italy, we can proceed with the recipe. You will need the following ingredients:

  • 300 g. of conchiglioni
  • 200 g. of minced meat
  • 200 g. of tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 350 g. of bechamel sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ½ onion
  • ½ glass of red wine

Let’s start with the filling. Cut the onion into small pieces and sauté in a pan, over low heat. Once golden-brown, add the minced meat for 5 minutes over high heat. When the meat is done, add the red wine and mix it with the meat until it evaporates.

Watch for the wine to dissipate and then, add the tomato sauce (we suggest you use top quality plum tomatoes) and cover it with a top. Adjust the heat to a little over medium and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon. Once this filling is ready we can prepare the bechamel sauce.

In a big bowl put the tomato sauce with meat, add a pinch of salt and pepper. Boil some water and cook your conchiglioni until al dente. After draining your pasta, run it under cold water so it will stay firm after cooking.

Using a nice rounded spoon, you can fill each conchiglione. Using an 8 x 11 baking dish, lay the filled pasta shells in it and dish 2 tablespoons of bechamel sauce onto them. Once the conchiglioni are ready, garnish them with finely grated Parmiggiano Reggiano.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. and bake your stuffed conchiglioni for 35 minutes, and then briefly broiling create a crunchy top.

If you are vegetarian, instead of meat you can use mixed grilled vegetables as a filling for your pasta shells.

how to make bechamel sauce

3. Lyonnaise potatoes

    Let’s end our culinary journey with a super easy recipe. This recipe comes from Lion, France and it’s a tasty side dish made with potatoes, onions and, of course, bechamel sauce. These are the main ingredients:

    • 800 g. of potatoes
    • 10 g. of butter
    • parsley
    • 200 g. of white onions
    • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

    Peel the potatoes and cut them into small discs (about 1/4 inch thick), then boil them in a medium sized pot for 20 minutes. 

    After peeling the onions, finely chop them. Put 3 tablespoons of the chopped onions in a pan and sauté with 10 gm of butter. Add some saved water from the potatoes and slow cook the onions for 15 minutes over low heat.

    Take a rounded casserole, grease it with butter and create the first layer of potatoes. Gently add the onions and cover the first level with the bechamel sauce. You can garnish with minced parsley. Repeat this sequence until you reach the top. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt.

    Preheat the oven at 390 F and bake the Lyonnaise potatoes for 15 minutes. Then shift to broil mode to bake them for 5 minutes at 480 F. This recipe is perfect for vegetarians or, it can be combined with stew or with a second dish like fish.

    what is bechamel sauce

    We hope that you like our recipes. We welcome you to visit our Italian grocery store for authentic Italian food (special ingredients for Italian cuisine), directly imported from Italy. Our passion and curiosity will guide you through Italian traditional and re-interpreted dishes.

    Check out this awesome video - a rendition of Bechamel sauce:

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