Onion Béchamel

Instead of rushing through the béchamel for her epic lasagna, chef Danielle Glantz of Pastaio Via Corta opts for a long, slow simmer, allowing the rich, thick white sauce to become infused with the flavor of a halved onion that becomes meltingly tender as the sauce cooks and thickens. This rich sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated in airtight container; reheat slowly over low heat, adding a splash of water to loosen, if needed.

Onion Bechamel
Photo: Photo by Justin Walker / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Daley
Prep Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
6 cups


  • ¾ cup unsalted cultured butter (6 ounces)

  • 1 ¼ cups organic 00 flour (about 6 ounces)

  • 8 cups cold organic milk (preferably grass-fed)

  • ½ small yellow onion

  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt

  • teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over low. Add flour, and slowly whisk until it resembles wet sand. Cook over low, whisking constantly, until mixture is shiny and smells toasty, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add cold milk. Once fully combined, switch to a wooden spoon. Add onion half, salt, and nutmeg. Cook over low to medium-low at a very gentle simmer, stirring very often, until onion is cooked through and sauce is very thick, about 45 minutes. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer; discard solids. Use warm, or refrigerate as directed.

Make Ahead

Béchamel can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator; reheat gently over low, stirring often.

Related Articles