How to make bechamel at home: traditional, light and vegan without butter!

How to make béchamel at home? Whether you prefer traditional, light or vegan without butter, you are in the right place! We will explain step by step how to make an "excellent homemade bechamel sauce that can then be used for the most varied recipes. First, however, let's talk about this exquisite sauce and its centuries-old history ...

The name "bechamel" appears for the first time in an Italian recipe book of the fifteenth century, entitled "La cucina Medicea". His recipe, in fact, was born in Tuscany, initially with the name of "glue sauce", to then be imported to France by Caterina de "Medici. Here it was reinterpreted and took the name with which we know it in honor of the courtier Luis de Béchameil, Marquis of Nointel, to whom the tasty recipe was dedicated.

Bechamel is one of the most used sauces in Italian cuisine: it is delicious, very versatile, easy to prepare and even fast! Whether you prefer to use it for a nice lasagna or on vegetables au gratin, it never disappoints! So let's find out together all the recipes and secrets on how to make béchamel at home.

How to make béchamel at home!

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To prepare your homemade bechamel, you will need the following ingredients: 100 grams of butter, 100 grams of flour 00, a pinch of salt, some nutmeg to grate and 1 liter of fresh whole milk.

Start by heating the milk in a saucepan and, in the meantime, melt the butter separately over low heat. Turn off the heat under the butter and add the flour all together, continuing to mix with a whisk to obtain a homogeneous mixture, without lumps. Put everything back on the heat and stir until the mixture takes on that typical golden hue.

Put the grated nutmeg in the milk together with the pinch of salt, then pour it over the golden mixture (which the French call "roux"), stirring vigorously and continuously with a whisk. Cook for five minutes, until the sauce thickens and begins to boil. The density of the béchamel depends on your taste and the use you want to make of it: if you want it less dense you will have to decrease the quantities of butter and flour, otherwise increase them.

Warning: the béchamel should not be used immediately, but cooled. Put it in a bowl and cover it with cling film. It can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container, for two or three days at the most.

How to make light béchamel!

Bechamel is a rather caloric sauce: it counts around 135 calories per 100 grams. If you are following a diet, do not give it up, but try to prepare it in a light version!

Take 50 grams of flour and put them in a saucepan and then pour in 2 dl of semi-skimmed milk, making sure to mix vigorously so that no lumps form. Separately, heat 3 dl of milk, then add it a little at a time to the previous mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring with a whisk, until it reaches the desired density.

At this point you can turn off the heat and flavor the bechamel with salt and grated nutmeg. You can also choose (especially if you have gluten intolerance problems) to replace 00 flour with rice flour, while if you have lactose problems, you can use soy instead of skim milk.

If you want to add that extra touch of flavor and originality, you can add about 50 grams of goat ricotta, a very low-fat cheese, at the end. Experiment with your light béchamel in a tasty and light dish like this cauliflower au gratin with bechamel:

How to make vegan bechamel without butter!

Even if you are vegan you can enjoy an excellent bechamel! Just replace animal-derived ingredients such as milk and butter. To prepare it you will need: 1 liter of rice milk, 100 grams of vegetable margarine, 100 grams of flour 00, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Start by pouring the milk into a saucepan, put it on the stove and add the nutmeg. Meanwhile, let the margarine melt in another large pot over low heat. When the margarine is completely melted, add the flour and mix with a whisk until the mixture is golden.

Take a ladle of milk, in the meantime almost boiling, and pour it into the mixture, continuing to mix so that no lumps form. Add all the milk, one ladle at a time, then salt and pepper to your liking. Continue to cook over low heat for five minutes, until the béchamel reaches the desired degree of density.

If you prefer, you can also use soy or almond milk instead of rice milk. Instead of margarine, however, you can choose extra virgin olive oil.

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