Easy and Simple Bechamel White Sauce
For a simple, easy side dish try Mamma Giuliana’s quick bechamel white sauce combined with the vegetable of your choice. Inspired by the classic bechamel sauce, this version uses a rapid-make white sauce to add a delectably creamy dimension to your sides with minimal extra effort.
In her latest video, Mamma Giuliana shares her tried-and-tested trick for a quick besciamella which needs no advance preparation or time-consuming stirring. By merely adding the classic bechamel ingredients (butter, flour, and milk) to your pre-prepared vegetables and baking in the oven, in no time you can wow your dinner guests with an authentic-tasting dish. In the video below the dish is made with spinach but try the same technique with broccoli, cauliflower, fennel bulb or even potatoes to enjoy a classic recipe made super-simple thanks to Mamma Giuliana’s time-saving tricks.
The origins of besciamella are, like many historic dishes, hotly contested. Although the name derives from the French chief steward to the house of King Louis XIV, Louis de Béchamel, it is thought to have originated in Renaissance Tuscany and brought to France in 1533 by Catherine de’ Medici. Italian Renaissance texts mention a salsa colla or ‘glue sauce’ which refers to its sticky consistency and the fact that it was used to bind ingredients together.
Whatever its history, the execution of a perfect bechamel sauce is key to many recipes of classic French and Italian cookery. The base of the sauce is a roux, a thick mixture of butter and flour, to which milk is gradually added while whisking to obtain a creamy texture. In Italy it will often be seasoned with nutmeg before being used as a key component in pasta dishes such as lasagne or cannelloni or, as in this case, adding a new dimension to simply prepared vegetables.