Friday, February 22, 2013

Easy Cheese Sauce

I love when a recipe comes into being partly by a happy little coincidence.  Such is the case with tonight's recipe.  I have made cheese sauces many times before, but this one was definitely the best, and it was solely due to the type of cheese I used.  Funny thing though, I originally bought the cheese to keep at work.  You see, I rarely take a lunch break these days, so I end up eating at my desk.  Not because I have to, but because there's always so much to do and sitting in the breakroom for an hour seems like such a waste.  Anyway, I keep things around the office that I can eat on the go and that aren't too messy.  Cheese and crackers fit the bill nicely, and this cheese promised to be fantastic - Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Basil.  It looked gorgeous, but failed to live up to its potential.  When I sliced a few pieces and put on my favorite black pepper triscuits, I was so disappointed.  It just didn't seem to have any flavor.  Maybe it was that the two were not meant to be paired together.  It happens - the flavors just don't compliment each other.  Whatever the case, I knew I had to use the remaining block of cheese in some other way.  Then I decided on a cheese sauce, and boy am I glad that I did!  That's where its promise was finally made good and the flavor shined through.

Here's your Cast of Characters.

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 Cup flour
1 Teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
2 Cups milk
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
6 Oz. semi-soft cheese, such as Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Basil
1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Lawry's, McCormick's Perfect Pinch Garlic and Herb and Tuscan seasoning

Melt butter in a large saucepan, over medium heat.  Add flour and stir well, making a roux.

Continue cooking for another minute or two, stirring frequently to keep it from burning.

Slowly add milk in, whisking continually to prevent lumps.

Add pepper and chicken bouillon granules.  Mix well with whisk.

See how this cheese fooled me?  Doesn't it look like it would be fabulous all by itself?

Cube the cheese into one-inch pieces.  You could shred it, but if you get a semi-soft cheese, it will melt nicely either way, so why waste the time shredding?

Add to white sauce, and stir until the cheese has completely melted.  Taste, and add the Lawry's and additional seasonings accordingly.

I only needed to add 1/2 teaspoon of all the seasonings because, suddenly, the cheese had a ton of flavor.

Now, you can use the sauce in any number of ways:  this Italian style sauce would be great served with some ravioli or even in a bread bowl with cubed bread for dipping, or use a Southwest flavored cheese and seasonings for nachos or enchiladas.  The sauce is as versatile as the cheese you choose.

I chose to serve mine over bacon topped potatoes.  Simple, but so good!