The biggest changes in your life will happen in the shortest span of time. Blink, and the world has changed.
To follow up that dramatic statement, here’s a quick cream sauce that not only takes very less time to make, it is absolutely impossible to make it in a longer time! Everything happens instantly, and the best part is you can toggle the ingredients and adjust quantities to your liking. Presenting Béchamel Sauce! This entire recipe should take you no more than half an hour.
Olive oil, 2 tbsp, divided
Cornflour, 1 1/2 tbsp
Milk, 1 L
Grated cheese, any kind (I used Parmesan), 1 cup
Any flat pasta (I used two: Fettuccine and Penne), 1 pack
Salt to taste
Butter, unsalted, 1 cube
Chicken stock (in cubes or fresh), 2 cubes
4-5 garlic cloves
Ginger-garlic paste, 2 tsp
Fresh cream or half-and-half, 1 1/2 tbsp
Bell peppers, chopped
Freshly-ground black pepper
Red chilli flakes
Flat-leaf parsley or coriander
Basil, fresh or dried
Large mixing bowl
1 In one cup of water, add a tablespoon of cornflour and mix well until it achieves a paste-like consistency. If you’re using cubed chicken stock, add the stock into the same cup. Set aside.
2 In a large pot, boil plenty of water, liberally salted. Once bubbles begin to form at the edge of the water, add the pasta and let it boil. Add a drop of olive oil to prevent stickiness.
3 If using garlic, chop into small pieces. Pour 1L of milk into an easily-to-pour-jug or bottle. Grate cheese and set aside. Chop coriander or parsley and basil, and set aside. Keep all ingredients close to the stove in order of addition, as the next step will require precision and speed.
4 Heat a tablespoon of olive oil or a cube of unsalted butter in the wok on medium-low. Add chopped garlic and sauté. Add the ginger-garlic paste. The butter should not be allowed to turn brown. Lower the heat and pour in the cornflour/chicken stock paste after giving it a quick stir. Stir quickly and vigorously with a wooden spoon to avoid formation of lumps. As soon as the mixture begins to thicken even slightly, our a bit of milk and continue to stir quickly. Keep pouring milk and stirring. This step should not take more than one minute.
5 Add cheese and mix well. As the cheese begins to melt, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes and allspice to taste, as well as the herbs. Once the sauce begins to boil, stir well and take off the heat. The sauce is ready!
6 While the sauce is boiling, chop the bell peppers and julienne the chicken into bite-sized strips. Sauté the chicken strips with a pinch of salt, pepper and ginger-garlic paste in a pan with a dash of olive oil, until the chicken turns white. Also fry bell peppers in the same pan once the chicken is done. The broth can be reserved and added to the sauce.
7 The pasta should be cooked al dente. Spoon the pasta with a slotted spoon into the sauce and mix so it is well-coated. Garnish with herbs and enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at home!
Don’t forget to plate and garnish before you eat (I did)!