Sunday, November 26, 2006

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.

They are:
  1. Salsa Spagnola (dark brown sauce, butter, flour, bacon grease, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, bay leaves, and tomato.)

  2. Salsa Vellutata (light colored cream sauce, Chicken, Beef, or Vegetable broth, butter, flour)

  3. Besciamella (white sauce for baked casseroles and vegetable cream sauces, Butter, flour, milk)

  4. Salsa Pomodoro (Tomato base, tomatoes, celery, carrots and onions)

  5. 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.


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Blogger bozette said...

You know I am going to have to stop coming here if you keep posting pictures of food.
I gain 10 pounds just looking at it.
LOL joking love your site.

10:00 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Bozette You are too kind. I know you eat really well.

I hope that publishing some of the traditional recipes will help others, who want to eat healthier, get started with simple but savory dishes. The end result should be that people actually lose weight because the calories per volume are inferior than industrially processed foods.

As weird as it may seem, I think that a natural, balanced diet helps the body metabolize calories better thus less ends up in adipose.

We should get together this coming summer, you do such a great job with the photos it would be great to have you shoot some of the spring and summer feasts.

10:25 AM


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