21⁄2 tablespoons butter
1⁄3 cup (50 g) plain flour
600 ml low-fat milk
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute, until the mixture forms a smooth paste (or ‘roux’).
2. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually pour in the milk, stirring or whisking constantly.
3. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, still stirring or whisking. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce gently for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth and thick. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and use as required.
Notes This sauce does not keep well, so prepare it just before you need to use it. To vary the flavour of the sauce, add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper, ground nutmeg or 1 teaspoon mustard.
Stir 1⁄3 cup (40 g) grated cheddar into the sauce just before serving.
Gently cook 1 cup (90 g) thinly sliced mushrooms in the butter before adding the flour.
Stir 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley into the finished sauce.
Gently cook 1 small finely chopped onion in the butter for 5 minutes, or until softened, before adding the flour.
Makes 600 ml Prep 5 mins Cook 20 mins