Whether you’re trying to get small children to eat their broccoli or simply want to boost the flavour profile of your meal, a great cheese sauce can make the world of difference. Add it to pasta, drizzle it over vegetables or even add an extra layer of flavour to your steak. Whatever you do, you need be sure to find a recipe that is full of flavour!
Due to the complex make up and high fat content of cheese, making a great sauce is about more than simply throwing it over a heat and waiting for it to melt. In fact, if you attempt this method you’ll quickly discover that the cheese protein and fats will separate, leaving you with thick curds and a pool of oil. This definitely isn’t the creamy cheese sauce you envisioned.
To make a delicious cheese sauce, there are two schools of thought when it comes to flavour. Some like to stick to the traditional béchamel and keep it relatively mild, while others are firmly in the ‘more is more’ camp, adding flavours to take it to a whole new level.
What is a béchamel sauce?
Also known simply as ‘white sauce’, béchamel is a creamy and mild cheese sauce, made from a white roux and milk. It is most commonly used in lasagne, potato gratins or as a base for macaroni cheese.
To make a traditional béchamel cheese sauce
The ingredients for a traditional béchamel sauce are quite simple, but while the recipe is easy it does require your full attention to get it just right.
60g butter, chopped
1/3 cup plain flour
4 ½ cups milk
75g Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Melt your butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat
Add your flour and stir until combined and bubbling
Remove your pan from the heat.
Slowly add your milk, and whisk until all the milk has been combined and the mixture is smooth.
Return to the higher heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce comes to the boil
You’ll know it is ready when it thickens enough to coat the back of your wooden spoon
Remove from the heat and add in your Parmesan cheese
To make a garlic béchamel cheese sauce
For a hint of flavour that will turn your basic béchamel cheese sauce into something you’ll want to pour over everything, all it takes is a little bit of garlic. To make this variation, simply add in 2 cloves of minced garlic when you add in the flour, allowing it to get fragrant as the butter and flour are combined.
Optional flavour changes for your cheese sauce
If you’re wanting to experiment, try replacing the Parmesan cheese in your basic béchamel sauce with something stronger, such as a strong, sharp cheddar or a blue cheese.
You can also add in herbs and spices to give your cheese sauce a twist, such as a pinch of nutmeg for depth of flavour. Alternatively try balancing out the mild cheese with a kick of chilli. This will help your basic cheese sauce to become an even better base for your pasta dishes such as macaroni cheese.
Tips for using the NEFF induction cooktop
Since this cheese sauce recipe can be a little bit fiddly, it helps to be able to go as hands free as possible. With the NEFF induction cooktop, you can reduce the heat under your pan by simply pushing it further back on the stove. This means you don’t have to fiddle with the dial as you move your temperature up and down.