1/2 cup fresh walnuts — chopped very fine
3 cups milk
2 cloves garlic — peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
2 small bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
If possible, use new crop walnuts, freshly shelled and chopped very fine, either by hand or in a food processor.
Slowly warm the milk with the walnuts, garlic, and bay leaves. When the milk is near boiling, turn off the heat, and set it aside for the flavors to steep.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux. Gently cook it for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it is lightly colored. Remove the bay leaves and garlic cloves from the milk; then add the milk all at once to the roux, and stir with a whisk.
Season to taste with the salt, freshly ground white pepper, and a scraping of nutmeg; then slowly simmer the sauce, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes.
Use this sauce with pasta dishes.
Makes 3 cups (6 one-half cup servings)