BÉCHAMEL SAUCE is the classic white “cream” sauce, made from milk and a white roux. Although it has been replaced in most restaurants today by a sauce made completely of heavy cream, it still has a number of important uses. A béchamel is used whenever you want a creamy sauce without using cream. It may be mixed with puréed vegetables for richness without many added calories. Add cheese and transform it into a Mornay Sauce for a gratin or to coat vegetables or crêpes. When made correctly, it is smooth and creamy; poorly made, it will be thick and pasty.
Simple variations of the sauce can be made by adding tomato paste, mustard, or curry powder to taste.