A Simple White Wine Sauce Recipe

The key to a good sauce of any kind is to bear in mind that the purpose of a sauce is to enhance the flavor of the main dish, not overpower it. That being said, what follows is a basic white wine sauce. It contains only a minimal number of ingredients, thus lending itself well to many variations, depending upon one's taste and what the sauce is to be paired with. White wine sauce goes very well with fish, as well as chicken. With the addition of a few more assertive herbs and spices, it can even be used on beef.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup white wine (drier is better)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add cream, wine, and salt to a saucepan and put over low heat. As this mixture heats up, put the cornstarch in just enough cold water to dissolve it. Add the cornstarch to the heated liquid, gently stirring to keep lumps from forming. Slowly increase the heat, but do not allow the mixture to come to a full boil. For the scientifically minded, cornstarch reaches its optimum thickening ability at about 190 degrees. However, it begins to break down if overcooked. Therefore, once the sauce begins to simmer quickly, reduce the heat and simmer gently for about fifteen minutes, or until the desired consistency is reached. That's all there is to it. One final note: since cornstarch is used in this recipe instead of flour, this sauce does not keep well. Once it cools and sets, it will never be the same again, so make only as much as you need at one time and keep it warm until ready to serve. The reason I prefer cornstarch is that it is essentially flavorless, and gives, I think, a smoother texture to the finished product.

As I said earlier, this is a very basic white wine sauce, and depending on what you are serving, you will probably want to vary it a bit. For example, if it is going on fish, you may want to put a little bit of pepper and lemon juice in it. Some garlic or oregano make a nice addition for serving over pasta. Add some sage to make it suitable for a pork dish. The variations are truly limitless, so let your imagination and taste buds be your guides. Just remember, more is not better in this case, so use a light hand until you find the amounts that suit you.