I often get asked what is the most popular question I get asked the most as a chef. The question always stumps me because I get asked a myriad of weird questions all the time. Things like “does chocolate truffle mean that it has real truffles in it?” or “can a vegan eat fish?”. Nothing shocks me anymore, human beings are not born intelligent unfortunately, some of us never really ever gain that intelligence gene.
I digress. The most popular question I get a lot is actually related to this very recipe. “How do I make a cheese sauce”. Seriously. It seems cheese sauce is one of the things that stumps people. Judging by the amount of bottled cheese sauces and cheese sauce powders on shelves it clearly is something people can’t get right.
A cheese sauce is basically a béchamel sauce that has added cheese. That’s it. What is a béchamel sauce? A white sauce. It’s a base for other sauces. I won’t get into the whole chapter I had to study about sauces at school, you’ll probably fall asleep but there are 4 main base sauces and from them we get and make derivative sauces. So with a béchamel sauce as your base you can add whatever else you’d like to it to make the rest of your sauce.
This is my cheese sauce recipe. I use it for lasagne and other pastas and if I’m making fish I leave the cheese out and add some lemon zest and a little garlic and lemon juice. See what I meant about it being a base for a whole lot of other sauces? You can do the same and play around with it too.
Butter (NOT margarine) 60g
White pepper (pinch)
40g grated parmesan
40g grated cheddar
1. Melt the butter in a thick bottomed sauce pan on a low heat.
2. Whisk in your flour (this prevents lumps) and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is cooked through BUT isn’t browned. Stir constantly without stopping.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Use the whisk again and with your free hand pour the milk into the pan and whisk vigorously with your other hand.
4. When well blended and smooth return the pan to the heat (if you have lumps then strain it through a sieve)
5. Stir the sauce with a wooden spoon and slowly increase the heat and bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
6. Add the cheeses and stir until smooth.
7. Season with the salt and pepper and if possible serve immediately otherwise place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin forming.