This is the standard or “thin” version that is the mother of many
other classic sauces. It is often used in gratins and baked dishes
like Route Pazze with Sausage, Peas and Mushroom.


  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small shallot (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Time: 45 minutes
Yield: N/A
  • Add the salt, shallot and bay leaf to the milk.
  • Scald the milk, that is, bring it almost but not quite to a boil. Remove the seasonings.
  • Make a white roux. Melt the butter on low heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and blend it in. Cook until it froths, 2-3 minutes. Do not let the roux color.
  • Take the roux off the heat. Let it sit a minute or two to cool down a bit, then pour in the hot milk all at once.
  • Return the saucepan to medium heat. Whisk constantly until it is thick and smooth.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil and continue stirring for 1 minute.
  • Add pepper to taste.
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