California Central Coast Recipes

Basamella Sauce

Basamella Sauce is the foundation "White Sauce" of Central and Northern Italian Style Cooking. Sometimes spelled "Besciamella", another name for the sauce is Béchamel. Because basamella is the base upon which many other white sauces are made from, all serious cooks should have this sauce in their repertoire.

The key to this sauce is to prepare a proper "roux." The roux is made from the butter and the flour cooked together first. This does two things, it removes the yeasty bread taste of the uncooked flour, and second, it helps to disperse the fat of the butter into the milk to create a smooth creamy sauce. You want to cook the roux just to the point that the roux turns light tan and develops a slight nutty aroma, but does not brown --this is a white sauce!

A little trick is while making the sauce be sure the sauce is completely smooth each time before adding additional milk. In particular, when you add the first cup of milk, be sure to whisk the mixture to a smooth paste. If you do this, you will have a lump-free sauce when you finish and no straining will be required. ©2017, Basamella Sauce
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
re-calculate ingredients for:


4-1/2 cups Hot Milk
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour , we prefer unbleached
6 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons Freshly Ground Nutmeg
A few grinds Black or White Pepper

Preparation Directions.

1 In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat the milk until just boiling.

2 While the milk is heating, in a sauce pan large enough to hold and comfortably stir the milk, melt the butter over medium heat . Add the flour and with a whisk, stir until the mixture is smooth. As you cook, the butter and flour mixture it will begin to foam a bit. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to turn a light tan in color.

3 While whisking continuously, carefully add one cup of hot milk to the mixture. It will steam up very fast, so be careful not to burn yourself. Keep whisking until a smooth paste forms. Add another cup of hot milk and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.

4 While stirring continuously, bring the sauce to a slow boil. Cook for a few minutes more until the sauce thickens.

5 Season the sauce with the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Strain if necessary, cover and set aside until ready to use.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Basamella Sauce is usually used straight in classic Italian Dishes like Lasagna Bolognese. Another variation is Basamella Rica Sauce, it is Basamella with Parmesan cheese added. Add a little egg yolk to that and you have Mornay Sauce.

There are many other variations, but they all start with the basic Basamella sauce.

A tip from Sue!

Save those Parmesan cheese rinds!

Save those Parmesan cheese rinds when you get through with a brick of Parmesan cheese! They can be used to flavor soups deliciously. Store them in the freezer in a plastic bag, and use as needed.

The Parmesan rinds give unbelievable flavor and soul to soups and will turn a bowl of soup into an "entree" worthy of any guest. I generally use about two ounces of Parmesan cheese rinds to a stockpot of soup. Add them in after you've added the liquid and let them cook along with the rest of your soup's ingredients. You won't be sorry!

read more:
Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup with Parmesan Cheese Rind