Sofrito Cheese Sauce

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 4 1/2 cups
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Cook 40 mins

Sauteed vegetables add more nutrition and flavor to cheese sauce.

A sauté of colorful vegetables adds verve and flavor and festivity to a classic rich cheese sauce; a bit of optional harissa (Tunisian roasted pepper and garlic paste) adds kick. At the last, an optional fresh green stir-in of either minced parsley or minced cilantro adds one more element of taste, texture, and flavor. This can be made a day or two in advance, and slowly reheated in the top of a double boiler a half hour or so before serving, or, if you prefer, in a small slow-cooker set on low for an hour or so.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil, such as canola
1 large onion, diced
1 -- carrot, diced
1 -- red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 -- yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 -- jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
3 cups 2 percent reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon harissa, optional
1 cup (4 ounces) grated extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese (such as Vermont cheese)
1/2 teaspoon salt
-- Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely minced parsley or cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat butter and oil together in a large skillet until butter melts and begins to sizzle. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes. Add carrot and peppers; cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables; cook 4 minutes.
  2. Combine stock and milk in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Gradually add stock mixture to vegetables, stirring with a whisk until mixture is smooth and thick
  4. Stir in harissa, if using, and cheese. Cook, over low heat, until cheese melts and sauce is thoroughly heated. Add salt and pepper, then parsley or cilantro. Serve over Oven Poached Eggs in Spinach Nests.

Recipe by Crescent Dragonwagon.

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