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Basic 3-2-1 White Sauce More Recipes Like This

Ingredients: Metric Units
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste
Master this easy white sauce and its variations and you'll be feeling like a "real" cook in no time! This "foundation" sauce is endlessly variable, limited only by your imagination. Serve with pasta, vegetables, anything that needs some extra creaminess.

Yield: Enough sauce for 1/2 lb. pasta

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. (Of course, you can use a saucepan - that's why they're called saucepans, after all, but a skillet lets the sauce spread out thinly and cook faster I find.)

Before it browns, add flour. Mix thoroughly to make a roux, a smooth, thick, paste.

Very gradually, add milk, just a little at a time. Stir with each addition until it is smooth. (If you add too much at once, you'll end up with a lumpy sauce.)

Cook over low heat until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. As the milk heats, it will activate its sugars, so without salt this sauce can be almost sweet. Sauce will thicken upon standing.

A double recipe yields enough for a one-pound box of pasta: use 4 Tbsp. butter and 4 Tbsp. flour and 2 c. milk.

Cheese sauce: Add grated cheese to make a basic cheese sauce. Any nice melting cheese will do.
Pan gravy: Substitute broth or stock for the milk for quick pan gravy. When I make gravy, I often use homemade chicken stock, which I freeze in 1 cup portions. Adding the frozen stock makes it easy to add just a little at a time as it slowly melts.
Cream gravy: Use half broth/stock and half milk for cream gravy.
Substitute oil for the butter for a slightly different flavor.
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Contributed on: and modified on Thursday May 6th, 2010