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White wine sauce

Sorry if this has been posted elsewhere, but I can't find anything. I'm looking for a light and not too creamy white wine sauce to pair up with a pasta, cubed chicken and vegetables. A little cream in it is fine to add thickness, but anything I've tried in the past comes out too watery and is absorbed by the pasta. Thanks!

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  1. a beurre blanc sauce is a classic french sauce. the trick is to whisk madly while making it. more air stabilizes the sauce.

    also, do not rinse the pasta before saucing. that will casue any sauce to slip off.

    1/4 cup dry white wine
    2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 tablespoons thin cream
    4 Tablespoons of butter

    1. Place the white wine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until it is reduced to 1 tablespoon.

    2. Add the lemon juice and cream and cook 1 minute.

    3. Cut the butter into pieces. While the liquid simmers, whisk in pieces of the butter.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Two things we noticed with this sauce - It's a very small portion and second, it broke apart rather fast. I guess I need more detailed instructions on how to put this together and how many portions it's for.

    2. I struggle with these sauces too - my issue is I think I never allow the wine to reduce enough and use too much lemon. I'm going to try hotoynoodle's recipe.

      Another issue I always have with these sauces is that it seems to be missing a certain depth - when I taste I think "This needs something to ground it - something a bit more earthy" then I end up screwing up the sauce. Wonder if that's from the wine not having been reduced properly?

      6 Replies
      1. re: krissywats

        My thoughts exactly - mine always seems to be missing something! I did not try this last night because I had planned on something else for dinner, but did make a white wine type of sauce that I thickened a bit with corn starch and water. Something was missing...even the minced garlic didn't seem to help. I shredded fresh Parm over the dish and even that didn't cut it. My son thought the sauce tasted a little bitter, and I believe it was because I didn't let the wine reduce enough, even though I thought I had.

        I'm going to try Hotoy's sauce next week for sure.

        1. re: janlel

          White pepper. It has always been my missing "something" in every type of white sauce.

        2. re: krissywats

          YOu need to round out the flavors and add depth by using aromatics and herbs, like shallots, thyme, bay leaf, etc. Make sure to strain before serving.

          1. re: Veggietales

            Yes, you're right - but I don't think that's my particular issue as I use all of those very often....I really think for me it's not reducing the wine enough to condsense those flavors.

            1. re: krissywats

              I agree, definitely take it to au sec, not demi sec. When you add your next liquid it will "lift" the wine flavor right out of the pan.

          2. re: krissywats

            Anyone consider adding about 1Tbs EVOO?

            I make a sauce very similar to this where I sweat shallots and garlic in butter and EVOO, then add the wine and lemon juice...reduce...add parmasean and some chopped scallions (maybe some tomatoes if I feel the urge), thicken with heavy cream, and viola. Herbage can be added to compliment any other ingredients (meat/veggie/seafood). IMHO, it's flippin' fantastic.

          3. Why not a veloute based on a blonde roux in a sauce of veloute, stock, very reduced wine, egg yolks, creme fraiche, cooking juice from mushrooms, butter?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Forgive my ignorance but can you be a bit more specific with this process? I do not need specific measurements necessarily but a walk through would be fantastic!

              1. re: krissywats

                The blond roux is 1/4 cup butter and 1 cup flour. Melt and cook butter until clarified, add flour, cook slowly for at least 15 minutes (more for brown, less for white roux). Let cool completely. The velote is 1/2 cup blond roux per quart of stock. Cook slowly for 90 minutes, skimming. For the white wine sauce, use 2 cups of the velote mixed with another 1/2 cup stock, 1/2 cup dry white wine reduced to 1 tablespoon; thicken w/ 2 egg yolks mixed w/ 2 tablespoons creme fraiche and 2 tbsp cooking juice from mushrooms. Strain, heat to boiling; add butter off flame.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Thanks! Sounds beautiful and will be adding to my recipes and hopefully repetoire.

            2. I use a Beurre Blanc sauce learnt at Calphalon's Sauce class. It's got more flavour and stands up longer than most BB sauces had in the past:

              3oz dry white wine
              3oz chicken stock
              1 medium shallot, finely chopped
              1 bay leaf (fresh is best)
              1 tsp cracked pepper corns
              3 sprigs of fresh thyme
              2 tbsp 35% cream
              4 tbsp cold diced butter (unsalted)
              salt & pepper to taste
              fresh squeezed lemon to taste

              - heat wine, stock, shallott, bay, thyme and peppercorns, reduce BY 2/3
              - add cream
              - reduce the cream/stock combination by another 1/2
              - strain reduction, keeping liquid. pour strained liquid back into sauce pan, turn off heat and wisk in butter
              - season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and, if desired, additional chopped thyme

              This stuff is good enough to eat by the spoonful, coats well and is tasty and lightly creamy

              1 Reply
              1. re: orangewasabi

                This is similar to my buerre blanc, except I use parsley at the very end to brighten the dish. Be sure to reduce the wine and whisk in the butter as directed. Great on fish,

              2. With a saute of chicken, pasta, and veggies, I don't normally do a cream-based (or BB) sauce at all. I'll usually saute some shallots (if I have them) in the pan that I cooked the chicken in and then add some chopped garlic. Then deglaze the pan with white wine, after it reduces a bit, add some chicken broth. You can vary this depending on what flavor you want add anything else -- sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted peppers, etc. Always save some of the pasta cooking water separately -- sometimes you need to add a little bit of that back in to moisten it enough (after adding the sauce to the pasta).

                1. Adding pasta cooking water is always a great tip that I think of after it's too late and I've drained the pasta. :( Great ideas in here - thanks to all who responded!

                  1. Call me a heathen, but I gave up on white wine (I think my wine was too cheap) and now I deglaze and cook down very dry sherry. Works like a charm:)

                    1. The magic ingredient to save a "flat"-tasting sauce? Tabasco! One or two drops. Not enough for heat. Just enough to wake it up. Never fails.
                      Works with anything with eggs or cheese as well. Miracle potion.

                      1. This may be a stupid question, but how does one know when the wine has been reduced enough to remove the alcohol? It may sound silly, but I've always stuck my nose over the pan and if the wine hits me like a blast of alcohol, I know it's not yet reduced. If not, and it has a very mild smell, I figure it's ready.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: janlel

                          The answer to that is pretty much 'It's not.' Reducing a sauce, flaming a sauce, etc, never actually removes all the alcohol. I remember reading an article that indicated that a typical sauce loses only about 30% of its actual alcohol content during reduction, and that flambeeing uses up even less.

                          (A subject I care deeply about because my mother is very allergic to alcohol, and a lot of chefs won't tell her they put wine in a sauce because they think 'it all cooks off' and it soooo doesn't.)

                          For the purposes of making an actual sauce, though, you obviously don't need to cook the alcohol all the way off.

                        2. You gave me an idea to make an amazing sauce! I mostly followed your recipe but instead of lemon juice, I squeezed limes. then added much more wine that was called for, about 1.5-2 cups and then added about 2 tbsp of ginger, a little flour to thicken it, a lot of parsley, about 2 cloves of garlic, a little olive oil, and about 1/4 cup of veg broth. simmered it a lot- about 20 min...turned out fantastic....thanks for the great idea!!!

                          1. great receipe although i tweeked it up some

                            -about 2oz olive oil in pan with one large shallot and garlic, slight saute (next time i'll add two shallots)
                            -added 8oz chardonnay (Vendange)
                            -half fresh lemon
                            -fresh thyme - more the better
                            -few sprigs of fresh parsley (next time I'll add more)
                            -two large fresh basil leaves - all to taste (next time i'll add five)
                            -fresh ground pepper - more the better
                            -simmer over low heat
                            -stir in half pint heavy whipping cream
                            -simmer and whisk in 4 teasp butter (everything came together after a few minutes of simmer and whisk)

                            served over 1/2 lb of angel hair - sauce was NOT HEAVY and very very tasty

                            1. Okay, these sauces all sound much more complicated than the one I generally use, and seem to be in the opposite order. The recipe I use is out of Joy of Cooking, one of the white sauces, but it can be modified for different uses ...
                              These measurements don't need to be exact ... it will work just fine ...

                              2-3 tbsp butter
                              1.5-2 tbsp flour (proportionally within the range to the butter ...)
                              Chicken broth -- probably 1/2 cup, but will depend on use
                              White wine (or vermouth) -- again, 1/2 cup, but will depend on use.

                              Make a roux out of the butter and flour in either a saucepan or a small skillet, depending on what you're going to want to do with the sauce, dump the chicken broth in immediately before the roux gets to browning, and then add your wine/vermouth. Depending on how much your making, it may take a bit to get to a nice thicker consistency. It will thicken more off of the heat, so if you're going to let it cool some before you use it, I would suggest you stop while it's still a little bit thinner than you like it.

                              You'll notice I left off the measurements on the liquids, that will somewhat depend on what you intend to use it for and how much you want to make. When I make a normal batch for topping breaded chicken, I just use half a cup of each. However, recently, I actually used this sauce to cook my pasta, for which I used a good deal of chicken broth (about what I thought I would need to cover my pasta in my pan), and then I just added a large splash of cooking wine (not my favorite, but it's what I had ... I attempted to avoid over-salting due to the salt in the cooking wine by using unsalted butter -- I'm not a big salt person). It came out just fine, and I think the starch from the pasta helped to thicken up the extra liquid, as well as the pasta having simply absorbed some. (Sorry, I didn't bother measuring these things ... I just kind-of opened up the containers and dumped until it looked right.)

                              If you are looking to use this on pasta anyways, you might want to try cooking the pasta this way ... and then just toss in cooked chicken, and I'll let you make the call on where to throw in the vegetables. Just make sure to pull it off the heat when the pasta is still a tad more than al dente, since it is staying in the hot sauce, so it will soften a bit more.