I have been sharing some recipes and cooking tips with a coworker who is just beginning his culinary journey. He gives me bento box recipes, while I try to tell him that making ramen at home is not so hard (and I am not talking about the packets that cost 10 cents!). One of his big questions recently has been about béchamel sauce. Despite my best efforts, I haven’t convinced him to try making it.
The magic about béchamel, and the other mother sauces, is that once you master the basic version, you can make any sauce. Béchamel and veloutes, both starters to the white sauces, both begin with a roux and then you add either a cream/milk or a white stock. And from there you can keep dividing, adding cheeses or curry or tomato puree. The options are seemingly endless. Each variation provides a new one to enhance a dish, even one as simple as cooked asparagus.
With this in mind, I found myself contemplating what to make for dinner. One of the benefits to having an academic for a partner is that they often have time off. Thankfully this means that I can ask Justin to pick up groceries for me, so that I can get home a few minutes earlier. When I walked in the door last week, everything was set out on the counter for me: risotto, tempeh bacon, asparagus, and more Earth Balance.
The beauty of this meal is that the risotto is baked. Once you have it set up, you can simply get to work on the asparagus and sauce without having to tend to a third pot. I chopped the tempeh bacon up and sauteed it briefly in a small pan. When it came time to serve dinner, I mixed it in with the risotto, and then served the asparagus with cream sauce over the risotto.