It's hard to imagine a lager-than-life chef limiting his culinary creations to only being cooked in one pot. Usually, a gourmet meal requires a variety of items from saucepots, stockpots to sauté pans. But for Massimo Capra, a well-known Toronto based restaurateur, chef and one of the rotating chefs on Food Network's hit TV show, Restaurant Makeover, it was time to do a cookbook that mimicked how he cooked at home. And that's how One Pot Italian Cooking (Whitecap, 2007) was created.
Before you go ahead and invite a handful of people over for a crock-pot party, it's time to pick up his book. One Pot Italian Cooking is not about throwing in frozen food at the beginning of the day and coming home to a stew. It's about using the freshest possible ingredients and making simple, delicious and rustic style Italian food. "It's the food I grew up making and eating," says Massimo. "I wanted to include some of my favourite dishes like lamb shanks, short ribs, risottos and chestnut soup."
When it comes time for entertaining, one pot is a really easy way to throw together a dinner party. All you need is an easy appetizer and a side salad and you're done. "And there's a huge benefit," says Massimo. "There's less clean-up! The other plus is that if you keep your pantry stocked, you can throw together a really quick last minute get-together in no time. All you need to pick up are the few remaining fresh ingredients."
Want to throw a one-pot party? Here's a quick menu that is comforting, easy to make and will please any guest.
Insalata Di Alberto: A mixture of radicchio, arugula, tomatoes and canned cannelini beans. A simple oil and vinegar is all it needs to round out the flavours.