Simple Cheese Sauce (and Variations)
Makes 2 ½ cups
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 ounces Gruyere or Emmental cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk or half-and-half
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) butter
Big pinch grated nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Fit the chopping blade into the work bowl. Add the Cheddar, Gruyere and cornstarch. Chop on speed 6 for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add the milk, butter and nutmeg. Cook at 90 C on speed 2 for 18 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
· Dried Mushroom: Soak 1/3 cup dried mushrooms (porcini are great) in enough boiling water to cover in a small heatproof bowl until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and reserve the soaking liquid. Rinse the mushrooms, chop them fine, and add to the sauce along with the milk. If you like, strain the soaking liquid through cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter and substitute ¼ cup of the soaking liquid for an equal amount of milk.
· Tomato 1: Add ½ cup Tomato Confit to the sauce along with the cheeses.
· Tomato 2: Pour boiling water over ¼ sun-dried tomatoes in a small heatproof bowl. Let stand until they are softened but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain, pat them dry and chop them fine. Add to the sauce along with the milk.
· Tarragon-Chive: Stir ¼ cup very thinly sliced chives and 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon into the finished sauce.