Recipe: Béchamel Cheese Sauce
From Ross Katz of Rooster’s Kitchen.
Macaroni and cheese fans, pay attention. This cheesy sauce is the preferred base for Mass Ave restaurateur Ross Katz.
Béchamel Cheese Sauce
6 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup cream cheese
2 lbs shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder
Dash cayenne pepper
- Measure all ingredients in advance. Once you start the process, you need to pay close attention to the stovetop.
- Melt butter over medium heat in small saucepan.
- When butter is melted, add flour and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Warm milk over low/medium heat in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir frequently, and do not boil (or the milk could scorch).
- Once the milk is warm, add nutmeg, cayenne, onion powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Add the flour/butter mixture to the warm milk in three stages, whisking to fully incorporate each time.
- Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it reaches the boiling point, let it boil for twenty seconds, then reduce heat to low.
- Add sour cream and cream cheese to mixture; whisk to combine.
- Remove from heat. Add the shredded cheddar in three stages; stir until smooth after each addition.
- Chill and keep in refrigerator for later use, or add to any of your favorite dishes.
Editor’s note: We like to use this creamy béchamel sauce for a big pan of mac and cheese, and encourage you to do the same. Here’s how to make your own:
1 batch of Rooster’s béchamel sauce, prepared as above
1 (16-oz) box elbow macaroni
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions, EXCEPT: only boil it for half the time instructed on the box. (You don’t want to overcook the macaroni here, because it will finish in the oven.)
- Brush a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter; set aside.
- Combined cooked macaroni and prepared béchamel sauce in large bowl; pour into prepared baking dish.
- Combine crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter in small bowl. Sprinkle over mac and cheese in baking dish. Cover with foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, covered, in oven. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until cracker crumbs are toasted.
- Serve warm.