Friday, 5 April 2013

Cheese sauce on everything!

Tutorial on Cheese Sauce and Two Lasagnes

The best thing about a wedding is having everyone you love around you at the same time! I planned a supper for the families, to meet and get comfortable with each other, and I wanted a really warming  meal to get everyone comfortable. Lasagne was something I had never put together from scratch, but I had the components licked (yes, licked), so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I made two lasagnes using bolognaise as the filling for one, and ratatouille for the other. The layers go like this: first, cheese sauce goes at the bottom.

This gets topped by filling, and cheese.

Then top that with lasagne (I used store bought sheets that don't need pre-cooking).

Your last layer will be of cheese (Mornay) sauce, topped with cheese.

In this tutorial, I'm not putting amounts. It's more about seeing how each stage in the cooking process should look, and being able to make as much sauce as you want, rather than always following the same recipe and making the same amount.

Cheese (Mornay) Sauce

cake flour

First, get some butter and melt it on a medium-high heat. I used a lot of butter, but this was a big lasagne.

Don't cook it after it's melted- we're not trying to make brown butter.

Now, add flour, until the mixture has roughly this consistency.

Now, stir it around and cook it for about 5 minutes. Now, take it off the heat, and add a bit of milk (I take it straight out of the fridge).

More bravely now, add more milk.

Now, switch to a whisk, and add more milk (I used about a liter for this). This is your final consistency- almost like normal milk.

Now, put it back on the heat (switch to medium heat). This is where I get a bit tricky. Using the whisk works really well on distributing the thickness of the sauce, but the whisk doesn't reach the corners of the pot, so I have to use a wooden spoon to get the thickened bits on the bottom stirred in. Keep heating until the sauce is almost boiling- at which time it should be thick. 

Now add cheese, salt, pepper and, definitely, nutmeg. Taste it lots, as you'll need more salt than you think.

All done. This can be used in lasagnes, mac and cheese, broccoli and cauliflower and roasted vegetables. It has been known to be eaten in teaspoons by the connoisseur in our house. Tablespoons when Ralph isn't looking.

If you're worried about having an awkward evening, these lasagnes and a whole lot of wine did just the trick for me. Friends were made and vegetables were eaten by my dad- which is basically a miracle.

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