All-purpose Beschamel Cheese Sauce
1/3rd to 1c cheese
Salt to taste
Over low to med-low heat, melt the butter in a saucepan.
When fully melted, add in the flour and whisk like your life depends on it. Get used to whisking, because you pretty much can't stop until you're ready with the sauce.
Add 1/3rd of the milk and let it come up to temperature while you're whisking.
Add the remaining milk and ratchet the heat up to medium. Whisk for 2 minutes.
Add in the cheese and salt and whisk until thickened and leaving trails when you whisk through it.
Some possible applications include:
1/2c to 1c grated sharp cheddar and a dash of tabasco and worch. sauce for mac & cheese
1/2c to 1c grated jack cheese with diced chilies for southwestern flavored cheesesteaks
1/2c to 1c grated white cheddar to serve with shell pasta and grilled chicken breast for a gourmet take on mac & cheese
1/3rd cup FRESH grated parmesan with oregano and a bunch of pepper for a poor-man's alfredo
1/2c to 1c grated mild cheddar with chipotle tabasco, diced chilies and either chili or salsa over chips for some kickin' nachos
Pairs Well With
Anticipating some belt-tightening, I got into a conversation with a friend about eating cheaply but satisfyingly. He told me that, when he was in college, he had his suitemates pay him a weekly allowance and he would go grocery shopping and have hot meals for them every day. I asked him for some recipes that he used back then, and he sent me an email entitled "The Roux and You" which included this recipe. It's been my first real foray into cheese-based sauces, and I've pretty much perfected it through repetition.