The Recipe Andrew Rea Thinks You Should Cook First In His New Cookbook - Exclusive

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Andrew Rea's new cookbook, "Basics with Babish: Recipes for Screwing Up, Trying Again, and Hitting It Out of the Park," is all about trying new things in the kitchen, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. It's a super-accessible cookbook with lots of information, tips, and tricks that any home cook, no matter their level of skill, would likely find useful. Rea walks beginners through cooking terms, cooking techniques, and even a basic spice rack — but he's also the first to note that not every single recipe in the book is suitable for those who don't know their sauté pan from their saucepan.

He told us in an exclusive Mashed interview, "The book is aimed at beginners to people who want to step up their game, like people who might be messing around in the kitchen but want to make the best focaccia they've ever made or make eggs Benedict for the first time, which is an extremely intimidating process. There's a mix of those kinds of recipes. There are recipes in the book that I would absolutely not recommend for beginners, and I loudly state that in the headnote and in the information about the recipe."

Where should the true beginners start if they pick up this book? When we asked, Rea had a little trouble making up his mind, but finally settled on his braised chicken thighs with fennel pasta.

Getting started in the kitchen

The braised chicken thighs with fennel pasta recipe is, as Rea described, a one-pan, quick and easy dinner that takes a little less than an hour. It's a personal recipe for Rea, too, as he said that he first started making a version of this dish for himself about a decade ago. He also noted that this is a very forgiving recipe, one that won't completely fall apart if you mess up here or there.

If you truly don't know your sauté pan from your saucepan, you'll have to outfit your kitchen before you begin to cook anything. Rea had a few recommendations on that front as well. The top three tools he advises for a beginner home cook? A stainless steel sauté pan, good chef's knife, and a large, heavy cutting board. If you have a little more room in your budget, he also underlined the usefulness of a non-stick pan for things like scrambled eggs and quesadillas and, if you want to try your hand at any of his bread recipes, he recommends a stand mixer.

"Basics with Babish" by Andrew Rea is out now wherever books are sold.