Workshop Cookery will be a series of methods and basics in a workshop format posted every week on Monday. It’s definitely aimed at the beginning cook and the recipe is walked-through as opposed to a written out recipe. Should I post the recipe as a supplement? The recipes are pretty basic (alfredo to make a roux, chicken noodle on making stock, chicken pot pie in making pie crust, etc.) Thoughts in the comments!

So you’ve never made a “Roux” No big deal, but you really don’t know what you’re missing. This is a no-miss start to a million meals! I use it all the time as a super-cheap, oh-no-what-do-I-make!!! backup in my emergency food toolkit. (Actually, you want to be totally honest? This recipe was *totally* a “Oh-no-what-do-I-make!” food emergency)So, a roux is fried flour with milk. Yep. Stupid french saying fancy things like “roux” when they mean FRIED FLOUR. So to start this recipe, and any roux:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
Lots of milk (2-3 cups, depending on your roux)
(garlic, in the case of this recipe, 2 cloves. Not in all roux, though. Just this one. Also, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning.)

Melt your butter in a non-stick pan over medium/medium high heat. High if you’re REALLY IMPATIENT and you happen to have a gas stove so you can turn the heat up and down however you feel. Lucky duck.

Anyway, so you have 3 tablespoons of melted butter over medium heat. Add your flour slowly. (In this case, also add your garlic and seasonings now.) Stir and stir and you’ll get a funny, pasty, weird looking substance that is COMPLETELY INEDIBLE AND NASTY. ew….

So! Now you’re going to cook it. Not long, though, you only want it to be a little dark yellow. (Here is where a camera would be SO helpful, but we’ll just say the color of alfredo sauce) So really, in the case of a “bechamel”, only make it all warm and let any seasonings get to smelling nice.

Now, add your milk slowly! Maybe a half a cup, stir that in, maybe a cup more, stir that in, and so on. You’re looking for something that’s relatively thin and creamy looking. If it’s very thick in the pan, when it’s really hot, it will taste like flour and everyone beg for water. This is generally considered a horrible thing. Look for just thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and drip, but not stream, off the bottom.

Congratulations. you just made a roux, and then you turned it into a “bechamel” sauce. Also, you finished dinner. Okay, okay, so only the first two-thirds of that is true. Two out of three ain’t bad! Plus, you’re REALLY close to being done with dinner.

1/2 c parmesan

Add cheese (mozz is good here too, but don’t bother wasting your good, expensive fresh stuff. The cheap bag is fine) and salt and pepper to taste. Taste again. And again. Yummy, innit? Well, once you add the salt and pepper. There might be a bit much seasoning for you (my hubby is a seasoning nut) or too little (you’re more of a nut than he is. ^.^) but you’ll know that for next time. There might be too much cheese for you (okay you’re REALLY weird) or you may add more than a 1/2 c parmesan, and add as much mozzerella as you want! Roux, and bechamel (and veloute and espagnole, which I’ll cover someday) is a canvas. Add what you feel you want. It’s just a great creamy base for you to work with.

Serve over fetticine, and then EAT!

PS: If you want real mac and cheese, start with a roux+garlic, add 2 c cheddar cheese, and pour over macaroni. If you want EVEN MORE bonus points, put it in a cake pan and put breadcrumbs on top. Welcome to cheddary heaven.