Béchamel Sauce


3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg


Makes about 2 cups

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is a golden brown. This paste is called a roux. Remove the roux from the heat.

In a separate medium saucepan, heat the milk, pepper, salt and nutmeg until the milk is steaming.

Return the roux to the heat. Slowly pour the steaming milk into the roux, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue stirring over medium heat for 3 to 6 minutes. When the mixture thickens, take it off the heat. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.