There are five mother sauces: sauces that you will use time and time again, often with endless variations. The first is Bechamel Sauce, which can be used in lasagna, macaroni and cheese, on veggies (which I personally rarely do as I prefer veggies plain) and more.
Here is the recipe for the first Mother sauce with some variations:
Béchamel Sauce with Variations
The sauce everyone should know how to make
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup warmed milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch nutmeg, freshly ground, optional
Heat the butter or oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, mixing thoroughly as you go. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in a small amount of milk to form a smooth paste. Continue until all the milk has been whisked in and the sauce is thick. Add sea salt & nutmeg to taste.
Add 1/2 cup grated cheese to 1 cup of hot sauce; stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Season with a little mustard or Worcestershire sauce to taste.
Add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped herbs or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs to 1 cup of hot sauce. Cook for a minute or two longer to get more flavor from the herbs.
Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of heavy cream to the finished sauce. For an onion flavor, add an onion slice to the milk when heating; remove onion slice before adding milk to flour and butter mixture.
Combine 1 teaspoon dry mustard to flour used in sauce. This sauce is especially good with fish and chicken.
You may use olive oil instead of butter, garbanzo flour instead of wheat flour and almond or soy milk instead of cows’ milk, just to name a few substitutions.