Cauliflower and cheese sauce probably doesn’t bring back the best of childhood memories, even if the cauliflower was fresh out of the garden with crisp flowerets. When the cauliflower was cooked till very soft and doused in a cheese sauce, sometimes lumpy, it wasn’t the most appetizing vegetable dish.
Likewise leeks or turnips with white sauce!
However a smooth creamy cheese sauce can enhance other foods or as a major component of lasagna. The art of making it from fresh individual ingredients instead of out of a packet is actually quite easy.
It is based on the following white sauce recipe and it doesn’t take very long to make.
You do need to concentrate all the time though. Don’t go off and leave the sauce to cook on its own. I can promise you it will go lumpy if not watched and stirred constantly till it thickens.
White sauce (the basis for Cheese Sauce – see Variations below)
2 tbsp butter or margarine
2 tbsp plain flour
1 cup of milk
¼ tsp salt
1. Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan.
2. Add the flour and salt and stir until it is bubbly.
3. Add one-third of the milk and stir all the time until the sauce boils and thickens
4. Repeat this twice until all the milk is added.
5. If you keep stirring the sauce constantly until it boils, you should get a smooth creamy sauce
To make a cheese sauce, add ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese after you have taken the saucepan off the heat. This is important because if you keep cooking the sauce after you add the cheese, the sauce will become tough and stringy.
If you want a particularly tangy sauce use tasty or well matured cheese.
To make a larger quantity, simply double the amount of all the ingredients. It pays to annotate the recipe with the new doubled amounts as it is so easy to double some and not all the ingredients – and this can have a devastating effect on the end result!
A cheese sauce for lasagna needs to be a bit thicker so it doesn’t run everywhere when you serve it, and I suggest you use 3 tbsp butter or margarine and 3 tbsp flour to 1 cup milk.
If you end up with a lumpy sauce, or if your sauce has curdled, you can either beat it with an egg beater or you can put it into a sieve and stir it over a bowl until the smooth sauce falls into the bowl. (You might want to do this out of sight of guests or even the family!)