This herb-scented bechamel sauce is a lighter but luscious alternative to a rich cream sauce. Though thickened with flour, it has the texture of cream, and when cooked the full length of time it shouldn't have a floury taste. Always prepare this sauce before making the ravioli so the herb flavors have a chance to infuse.
- Recipe excerpted from The Savory Way (Broadway Books, 1990), by Deborah Madison
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ small onion; sliced or chopped
- 5 black peppercorns; crushed
- 4 fresh parsley sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- several fresh thyme sprigs or pinch of dried
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch salt
- freshly grated nutmeg
- In small saucepan, combine milk, onion, peppercorns, parsley, bay leaf and thyme.
- Slowly heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed.
- Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Whisk in warm milk mixture and pinch of salt and bring to simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 25 minutes.
- Add more salt if needed and nutmeg.
- Strain through a fine-meshed sieve before using.