Vellutata – The Mother of Italian White Sauces
It is thought that gourmet recipes are difficult and require years of experience. While a passion for the kitchen is important, most dishes are relatively simple. Understanding the balance in flavors and how consistencies are combined is one of the tricks. Sauces seem to add that special touch, turning a simple grilled steak or broiled fish into a masterpiece. There are five Mother Sauces, in Italian cooking, from which all other sauces are made.
- Salsa Spagnola (dark brown sauce, butter, flour, bacon grease, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, bay leaves, and tomato.)
- Salsa Vellutata (light colored cream sauce, Chicken, Beef, or Vegetable broth, butter, flour)
- Besciamella (white sauce for baked casseroles and vegetable cream sauces, Butter, flour, milk)
- Salsa Pomodoro (Tomato base, tomatoes, celery, carrots and onions)
- Maionese (Mayonnaise, egg, olive oil, lemon, vinegar)
Vellutata means velvety. When talking food this translates to smooth delicate taste. The Vellutata is one of the Mother Sauces. That is, one of the bases from which other sauces are created by adding this or that ingredient. It is similar to a Besciamella, the difference is in the liquid base. The basic Vellutata uses veal broth, while Besciamella uses milk. Often when preparing dishes the recipe will ask for ½ cup of Vellutata, do not try to make less than the basic recipe for Vellutata, always make exact multiples.
Vellutata can be combined with Mushrooms, Vegetables, Tartufo, and Fish to make a delicate sauce. The imagination is the limit on how the flavors can be combined to accentuate any dish.
Vellutata is also uses to make thick soups in some regions. It can be combined with just about any ingredient. For fish based sauces use a fish broth, chicken broth for pasta sauces and fowl, beef broth for steaks and grilled meats, vegetable broth for sauces that will be used to compliment vegetables or used for dipping.
½ stick (50 g) unsalted sweet cream butter
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups cold beef broth
In a medium sized, heavy, sauce pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the flour and stir together well. Do not allow the mixture to begin to color.
Stir in a cup of cold broth. Mix together until the liquid is completely absorbed and uniform. Continue stirring until the sauce comes to a boil. Add another cup of cold broth. Continue stirring until the sauce comes to a boil again and then add the remaining broth. Stir continuously until the sauce comes to a boil and the sauce is consistent, delicate and velvety.
Add salt to taste. Let boil for another minute continuously stirring.
Tags: Gourmet Foods Sauces Italian Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy