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In keeping with our blog name, here are a few killer sauces to keep you warm, now that the chilly weather seems to have settled in.

HOMEMADE MAC ‘N CHEESE SAUCE – consider adding lobster or shrimp to this seriously decadent sauce.  I am gluten free, so the flour and the pasta are both gluten free in this house.  Sauté your seafood in some melted butter, flash it with some cognac (yes, set it on fire, in front of your friends!), then add a bit of celery, garlic, parsley and chicken broth.  Simmer, remove seafood and reserve the liquid broth.  In a deep sauce pan, melt 2T butter, then add 2T gluten free flour.  It may just be me, but I think making roux with gluten free flour is easier.  When the roux begins to brown slightly, start adding reserved broth slowly to the roux.  When you have depleted the broth, add 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese.  Stir till melted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix cooked pasta, seafood, and this ridiculous cheese sauce.  Never ever again eat mac ‘n cheese from a box.  Ever.

CREAMED ZUCCHINI SAUCE – I got this recipe from Once Upon A Chef (https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/creamed-zucchini-garlic-basil.html).  It is a summer go-to classic, but for the winter months, try it with some ground sausage over pasta.  This recipe will make veggie-averse folks embrace the squash.  Seriously.  You will hear “I won’t eat vegetables,” but then you will watch your zucchini disappear by the very same naysayer.  The hardest part of this recipe is the most critical – dirty a dishtowel or two as you squeeze out the water from the zucchini.  The end result is worth the dirty laundry.

COCONUT CHICKPEA CURRY – This recipe satisfies the vegan and gluten free guest, but is worthy of being called simply delicious: coconut-chickpea-curry-recipe.  I serve these chickpeas over rice, sometimes sandwiched with raw arugula in the middle, or other times (tonight), over risotto mixed with cooked arugula.  The bitter arugula stands up well to the sweeter coconut milk in the chickpeas.  If you are committed to a Meatless Monday, or just want richness and depth on the plate, these chickpeas will help you on your journey.

NOT A SAUCE BUT A KILLER DIP – Try this Mexican white cheese dip.  We served it last weekend, and the first guests to arrive ate it all before the other guests pulled in.  (We washed the dish so the later arrivals would not know!)  Take 1/2 lb. white American cheese.  Melt it in a  sauce pan with 1/4 cup milk, and 1T butter.  When all is melted, add a 4 oz. can of green chilis, a bit of cumin, a pinch of garlic salt, and some crushed red pepper.  Tortilla chips will suffice, but you may want to get the Tortilla scoops.  Trust me on this.  It will save the cheese from dripping on shirts, tablecloths and counters, because you and your guests WILL go for the deep drag.  Yum.


About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!

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