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Goat Cheese in the Fennel Salad & Walnuts in the Béchamel 5.19 But I'm a Gilmore

“Do you put walnuts in your béchamel?” “No.” “You don’t put walnuts in your béchamel?” “Sookie, I have things burning-” “I thought I tasted walnuts. What are you burning?” “What do you mean you tasted walnuts?” “You want to get fancy, you can do that in your own kitchen. My béchamel sauce is classic.” “How are you tasting the béchamel?” “And I don’t remember including goat cheese in the fennel salad!” “How do you know what’s in the fennel salad?” “So admit it, you put goat cheese in the fennel salad!”


For the béchamel sauce and pasta:

  • 1 lb cooked pasta (I used lumache rigate but you can use anything from elbow to bowtie)

  • ¼ cup reserved pasta water from cooking noodles

  • ¾ cup walnuts

  • ½ tbsp olive oil

  • 4 tbsp butter

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

  • 4 oz shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

For the fennel salad:

  • 2 cups arugula

  • 1 fennel

  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and diced

  • 1 green pear, cored and diced

  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped

  • 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 ½ tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 1 ½ tbsp whole grain mustard

  • 2 tbsp raspberry red chili jam

  • ½ tsp lemon juice

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp black pepper


For the béchamel sauce and pasta

  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the walnuts. Allow to heat for about 5 minutes to allow the nuts to toast. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

  2. Transfer walnuts to a food processor and add olive oil. Process until a smooth paste forms and set aside.

  3. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the butter and allow to melt. Add the flour and stir to form a roux.

  4. Whisk in the milk and allow to reach a simmer and thicken (about 5-7 minutes).

  5. Stir in the walnut paste and allow to simmer for an additional 3 minutes.

  6. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  7. Stir in the pasta. If the sauce seems a little thick, add in some of the reserved pasta water.

  8. Add cheese on top when serving.

For the fennel salad:

  1. Add the arugula to a large serving bowl.

  2. Prepare the fennel by thinly slicing the bulbs and finely chopping the fronds.

  3. Add the fennel, apple, pear, and walnuts to the arugula and gently toss.

  4. Crumble the goat cheese over the salad.

  5. Prepare the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and then pour over the salad to serve.

You could use this sauce in various dishes, but I chose pasta!

In my opinion, this is one of the few times when Sookie gets it wrong. Luke takes over the Dragonfly kitchen when Sookie gets put on bed rest. However, she’s so territorial, she has food snuck out of the kitchen so she can taste it. She accuses Luke of putting walnuts in her béchamel sauce, though he claims he did no such thing. I don’t see why she thinks this is a problem because it creates a beautiful nuttiness to the classic cream sauce.

One of the rare times I made a salad for this project.

Then Sookie is upset that Luke put goat cheese in the fennel salad! So? It honestly makes it taste better. I used arugula in the salad for a peppery taste along with green apple and a green pear to compliment the tanginess of the goat cheese. To tie both of the dishes together, I also added walnuts to the salad. For the dressing, I made a vinaigrette with a raspberry red chili jam that I found at Central Market to add a little bit of heat.

What do you think, did Sookie get it wrong this time?

Happy cooking from the Hollow!

If you missed what I made last episode, catch up here!

I think Luke got this one right!


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