One-pot meals like Marion and Anthony Scotto's chicken cacciatore are easy to make and — perhaps as important on a busy weeknight — easy to clean up: Cooking in one pot means there's only one pot to wash after dinner. And there's no need to trade convenience for deliciousness. Make your one-pot meals shine with these expert tips from the mother-and-son cooking team behind Fresco by Scotto.
Start with good ingredients: While Marion stresses that you don't need to go to gourmet shops to make great meals, "The most important thing is the ingredients." For her chicken cacciatore, she prefers to use San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, which can be found with other canned tomatoes in most grocery stores. "Those are the best type of tomatoes to put in all your sauces," she says, so stock up.
Brown the meat: As tempting as it might be to toss meat, vegetables, broth and so forth into a Crock-Pot or Dutch oven, if you take a little extra time to brown the meats before adding other ingredients, you'll wind up with a meal that has much better flavor and texture. "Browning the meat first is what gives you the flavors as you continue the recipes," explains Marion.
Build the flavors: After you brown the meat, remove it and use the same pot to brown onions, garlic and other aromatics, then add the meat back before continuing with the recipe, says Anthony. "You're building flavors so it's not just a jumble." He recommends taking time to brown your meats and aromatics even if you're planning to finish your one-pot meal in a slow cooker. Create that foundation of flavor, then you can set it and forget it.