There are five basic sauces or "mother sauces" when cooking, and Bechamel is one of the oldest. I love using this sauce in baked pasta dishes like lasagna or baked rigatoni.
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 quart whole milk, warmed over low heat
Pinch fresh nutmeg
Sea salt and white pepper
In large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 3 minutes. (**Cooks note: It is important to cook the flour mixture so you don't have a raw flour taste to your sauce.**) Continually stirring, slowly add the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Taste the sauce and add additional spices to your taste.
Use within 48 hours. To store in refrigerator, apply a piece of wax paper to the top of the sauce to prevent a film from forming.