Zia Rosa’s Homemade Besciamella

I have a confession to make. A confession that could, in theory, get my Expat-in-Italy status revoked and have citizens from my adopted country kicking my country music listen’, Mexican food eatin’ butt back to Beaumont.

You see, the first gazillion times I had lasagna in Calabria-with only one exception-I pretty much hated it.


It is ok. I am still here …

That exception-the one time I enjoyed lasagna-I ate it up and I was convinced that it was because the chef, my husband’s Zia Rosa, had omitted that thick white cream besciamella sauce that is normally poured into the middle of Italian lasagna.

The thick cream always assaulted my palate and, at least at home, I’d scrape it off and hand it over to the cat.

The truth was, Zia Rosa did put besciamella in her lasagna.

Only it was homemade.

It wasn’t thick.

It wasn’t offensive.

It was delicious.

After a few phone calls, she shared her recipe and now I’m sharing it with you.

Zia Rosa’s Homemade Besciamella Sauce Recipe

Homemade Besciamella Sauce

>> 1/4 cup, flour
>> 2 ounces, butter
>> 2 cups, milk
>> dash, salt
>> dash, nutmeg


1. Melt the butter over a low flame.

2. Add the flour and mix continuously until it becomes a cream and is very light tan.

3. Add the milk and continue to stir over a low flame.

4. Continue stirring until the mixture becomes creamy.

5. Add the salt and nutmeg and remove from the flame.

6. Continue stirring the mixture off of the flame for about a minute.

* If you prefer a thicker besciamella sauce, use more flour at the beginning.

While I’d love to say Buon Appetito here, you can’t eat besciamella alone. Stay tuned for more recipes that feature my new favorite cream sauce and feel free to use this homemade besciamella in your next lasagna!

6 Responses
  1. I believe that the Italians got this from French cooking as it’s the same as French besciamelle. Anyway besciamelle is great on lots of other things too – cauliflour (put a bit of grated cheese in), potatoes etc – yum!)

    Yes, I think they did-just don’t tell the Italians, I’m not sure they know. he he

    .-= kataroma´s last blog ..Cheese splurge =-.

  2. I’m so pleased that you’ve grabbed this one. It’s really an important base recipe for lots of things. I caught a young Italiana using a box of besciamella a couple of weeks ago and I could hardly believe it! No! No! No! I wasn’t even aware there was such a thing.

    This is a light besciamella. There is a medium one using twice that amount of flour and butter and a heavy one using three times as much. A recipe using besciamella will tell you which one. (You are now ready to make a soufflé!)

    Thanks for the tips, Judith! Soufflè? That just sounds intimidating!!

  3. Thanks for this recipe. I will definitely try it. I am not a huge béchamel fan. Maybe I wasn’t eating good béchame. I prefer to put ricotta in my lasagna. However, I was having to use béchamel in my lasagna when I couldn’t find ricotta in Barcelona. Fortunately, I recently discovered an Italian import store with ricotta.

    See, I never liked it, either but I think it is because the store bought stuff is SO thick. If you try this, PLEASE let me know what you think!

    .-= OrangePolkaDot´s last blog ..Barcelona Festivals: El Meu Primer Festival =-.

  4. Pat

    I’m surprised someone in Calabria would put béchamel in a lasagne. Must be a new thing, like past twenty years or so. I make a good béchamel. We put it over cauliflower and bake it in the oven.

    I think someone else mentioned using it with cauliflower. Sounds great. As for the bechamel being a new thing, I don’t really think it is. I asked my father-in-law and he said his mother used to make it with bechamel when he was growing up. Maybe it is a personal taste kind of thing?

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