After Mass I went to the kitchen and found her already whisking flour and butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat to make a roux. We added about 2 cups of warmed milk and whisked until it was thickened to cream consistency. I added a teaspoon of vegetable soup base and about a quarter cup of snipped chives, plus three or four chopped lovage leaves, fresh from the abbey herb garden. A few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of dried thyme finished off the flavor profile , plus a little more milk when it thickened too much.
The result was a slightly rich, delicately flavored sauce that prompted Fr. Roger to take seconds on the plain pasta. After supper we discovered that the flavors had deepened and became more complex, and Julie intends to use the leftovers over chicken breast for her supper tomorrow (I'd add a pinch of rubbed sage).
I'm sure that readers will want a recipe, but since we made it up on the spot and didn't measure much, I don't think I can help you there. However, you can start with Mario Batali's Béchamel Sauce Recipe and add the seasonings mentioned above, although Mario's recipe makes twice as much as what we made, so you"ll have to increase the amounts accordingly. Fresh herbs make a world of difference, so cut back those chives and put them to work on your pasta!