Béchamel, one of the "mother" sauces in classic French cuisine, is versatile: It's used in dishes such as lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and moussaka.
1 3/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
Dash of freshly grated whole nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of ground white pepper
How to Make It
Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.
Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add flour to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add strained milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil; cook 9 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in salt and pepper.
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Um, why not melt the butter, brown the flour and then gradually stir in the milk and then add the seasonings. You can pick out the bay leaves before serving. No need to dirty a strainer and a bowl to keep the milk in that way. Less steps, less clean up. If you carefully add your milk, the sauce will not form lumps.