Side Dish Dilema solved
I got this response from the reader who had a Side Dish Question for Thanksgiving.
The Mac 'n Cheese turned out perfect. Great suggestions. I never made a Bechamel sauce before but now I realize what a great base it is for many Italian dishes. At first when I got worried when I put the fontina cheese into the milk and it melted into a think blob at the bottom of the pot. Thankfully, I had so many other things going on I just left it on low heat and in 10 minutes or so the whole thing folded together into a very nice smooth cheese sauce. Thanks so much for your quick response and help.
Right on, man. You're welcome! Yes, that can be scary when it looks like a lumpy mess, but as you discovered, it melts nicely.
To clarify, the béchamel is a white roux (butter and flour) and milk base, and it can be the starter for many sauces. it can be a binder for croquettes, to finish creamed vegetable dishes, or in lasagnas or pasta dishes.
Make a Mornay sauce by adding 8 ounces each of gruyère and parmesan, and finishing with a little butter.
Cream sauce: Add 1 pint of heated heavy cream to the béchamel.
Cheddar Sauce: Add 1 pound of grated sharp cheddar to the béchamel.
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