Essential Pots and Pans in the Kitchen

If you've visited your local kitchen supply store, you know how difficult it can be to navigate the endless aisles of culinary gadgetry. Luckily, Chopped judge and restaurant chef Alex Guarnaschelli is here to break down the pot-and-pan essentials, plain and simple.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Choosing the Right Pots and Pans for Your Kitchen

Whether you're boiling pasta for a crowd or preparing dinner for two, Alex's rundown of pot-and-pan essentials covers all your basic cooking needs. Follow her tips by selecting the best cookware to suit your lifestyle, and you'll be prepared to take on almost any task in the kitchen. 

Small Saute Pan

Sauteing is a common cooking method implemented in many recipes, so chances are you're going to need a good set of saute pans to get you through the week. Alex recommends investing in three or four high-quality pots and pans rather than a dozen cheap ones.

Medium Saute Pan

According to Alex, a good set of pots and pans makes cooking at home easy, which will build better eating habits. "I don’t have a lot of room in my Manhattan kitchen. That makes my choices all the more important –– I don’t want to deal with kitchen clutter," she says. If you're looking to optimize cabinet space, a set of small, medium and large saute pans can be stacked and easily stored.

Large Saute Pan

Having a large, stainless-steel saute pan at your fingertips will come in handy when cooking for a crowd. If you're hosting brunch, you'll most likely reach for this item when making pancakes or scrambled eggs for your guests.

Cast-Iron Skillet

To supplement the pans, Alex loves a cast-iron skillet. It's great for anything from getting the perfect sear on steaks to baking skillet cornbread. Not only is cast iron durable, long-lasting and easy to clean, but it's also stick-resistant. 

Heavy-Bottomed Pot

Alex opts for a large, heavy-bottomed pot like this one for "boiling a good amount of water for pasta and stocks."

Dutch Oven

Alex recommends investing in one of the cast-iron, enamel varieties of Dutch oven. They're extremely sturdy, enduring and can withstand high temperatures for long hours. They're great for stews, braises and other slow-cooked recipes.

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