If you are not using clarified butter, wait until the foaming subsides.
Add the flour.
Whisk until completely incorporated, about 1 quick minute.
Chef’s Note: Adding fat and flour together creates a roux. There are different stages of a roux; the longer your cook it, the browner it gets, and the nuttier it tastes. We want a light roux… no browning. So, 1 minute on the heat is about all you want.
Slowly whisk in the chicken stock.
Chef’s Tip: Do not use hot chicken stock, or you will get lumps in your sauce.
Continue to whisk until completely smooth.
Add the cream.
Stir to incorporate, about 1 minute.
Chef’s Note: At this point, season with salt and pepper.
Chef’s Note: We are using white pepper, because we don’t want to see little black flakes in the sauce. In addition, white pepper is milder than black pepper, so adjust your seasoning accordingly.
Continue to cook and stir for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the Parmesan
Stir until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Chef’s Note: If the sauce is too thick, add more cream or chicken stock, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.
Chef’s Tip: If you are making this sauce ahead of time, put a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap over the sauce while it cools to prevent a skin from forming.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME
FOR FISH AND CHICKEN: Add about 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme and oregano and 1 or 2 baked/mined cloves of garlic.
A VEGGIE DIP: Use the same variations for fish and chicken, but melt about 2 ounces of cream cheese into the sauce.
PASTA: Use the master recipe without variations over most pasta.
PASTA VARIATION: Skin, seed, and chop one large plum tomato add a tablespoon of chopped basil, and serve over pasta.
Chef’s Note: When I use garlic in a sauce, I like to bake the garlic first. Place the garlic cloves on a piece of parchment paper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Pull the ends of the parchment paper together and twist together, like a beggar’s pouch.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow it to cool. Add a few pinches of salt, and then mash into a paste with the flat side of your kitchen knife.
Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
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