In classic French Cooking there are 5 mother sauces from which all other sauces are just some variation. Theses sauces are Bechamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Sauce Tomate and Hollandaise. While all the mother sauces have their uses, I think the most useful to home cooks is Sauce Bechamel or white sauce.
So for my 6th recipe every beginning cook should know I choose Bechamel or basic white sauce.
Bechamel Sauce (White Sauce)
1 TBS butter
1 TBS flour
1 cup milk
In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, stir in the flour heat to low and cook, stirring with a wire whisk, almost constantly until the flour-butter mixture darkens, at least 3 minutes. Stir in the liquid a little bit at a time, still using a wire whisk, cook over low heat until the desired consistency is reached.
Recipes on A Solitary Feast using white sauce