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How to Make White Italian Spaghetti Sauce

by
author image Morgan Rush
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.
How to Make White Italian Spaghetti Sauce
How to Make White Italian Spaghetti Sauce Photo Credit Kleophaus Livingston/Demand Media

White Italian spaghetti sauce is commonly known by its French name, bechamel sauce, although the Italians refer to it as salsa di besciamella. The major difference between Italian white sauce and French bechamel is that Italians don’t incorporate clove, which imparts a warm, slightly sweeter taste, according to the Italian chef Giuliano Hazan. White sauce, rarely used alone, can be tossed with spaghetti and vegetables for a slightly creamy comfort food. Italian cooks also use white sauce to “bind” layered dishes such as lasagna or other oven-baked dishes. White sauce commonly appears in Northern Italian cooking, and it’s fairly easy to make in your own kitchen.

Step 1

How to Make White Italian Spaghetti Sauce
Photo Credit Kleophaus Livingston/Demand Media

Prepare the saucepan by heating it over medium-low heat with butter -- enough to melt but not brown. Once the butter is melted, use a whisk to gradually blend in enough flour to create an even-textured paste called a roux. Although roux traditionally refers to a brown sauce, white Italian spaghetti sauce calls for butter to be melted but not browned. If you can see streaks of flour, keep stirring until the melted butter has absorbed everything. The texture will be similar to wet sand.

Step 2

How to Make White Italian Spaghetti Sauce
Photo Credit Kleophaus Livingston/Demand Media

Pour hot milk into the butter-flour mixture gradually, using a whisk to avoid lumps or uneven textures. Switch to a wooden spoon for stirring; the sauce will cook for between 10 and 15 minutes before it’s ready. As you stir, check the back of the spoon. The sauce will be finished cooking when the white sauce is thick enough to stick to the back of the spoon.

Step 3

How to Make White Italian Spaghetti Sauce
Photo Credit Kleophaus Livingston/Demand Media

Season the white sauce with salt and pepper to your own taste preferences. This simple sauce relies on the creamy milk and butter for its subtle flavor, but you can punch it up with Italian seasoning if you like. Dried oregano or basil make good choices.

Step 4

How to Make White Italian Spaghetti Sauce
Photo Credit Kleophaus Livingston/Demand Media

Pour the white sauce over your prepared spaghetti, if you plan to use right away. Use a spoon to spread the sauce evenly in the pasta. If you like, add shredded Parmesan cheese, or another shredded white cheese of your choice, for extra creaminess.

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