Cheese sauce is basically a white sauce with cheese added. So when you learn to make it you are learning two skills for the price of one. It is not that much more complicated to make than white sauce and because of the cheese you don’t have to be as carefully about getting all of the lumps out of the white sauce in the first step. The hardest part is shredding the cheese. Because it is so fast to come together it is one of those recipes it’s best to prep first by having everything laid out before you heat the pan.
Of course the best part is that cheese sauce goes with practically anything. Seriously any vegetable, pasta, meat, or bread can be improved with some cheese sauce on top. I find that cheeses that I don’t like by themselves or for eating will often go nicely in a sauce mixed with an equal amount of good cheddar.
The only down side to this sauce is that it dose not warm up well. It tastes fine, but looks terrible because the butter almost always falls out of emulsion. This of course does not stop me from eating warmed up cheese sauce but I make it fresh when I want to impress guests.
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons rice flour
- 2 cups milk or cream
- 1/2-pound cheese shredded (mix and match to taste)
- Thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste
Heat milk or cream in the microwave for about 60 to 90 seconds until warm but not boiling. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium low heat. Add thyme and oregano. When butter froths, add rice flour and stir to make a roux. This is the time to beat out any lumps. Add milk or cream in one go and, maintaining heat, continue stirring until sauce thickens. This is now a basic white sauce. Turn heat to low and add cheeses. Stir until smoothly combined. Season to taste and serve hot.