Although its name suggests a casual piece of cookware, the All-Clad Stainless Steel Weeknight Pan is a true luxury. It's the one-pot wonder for the anti-crockpot home cook. Forget having to juggle multiple pots and pans – a 12" diameter was large enough to make a substantial dinner of stuffed chicken breasts for four. The filling (sautéed), protein (oven-roasted), and pan sauce (simmered) all came from the same vessel in under an hour.
Try-ply metal construction gives it serious heft. Made with stainless steel layers and a solid aluminum core, the pan is compatible with gas, electric, and induction burners. On a gas range, thin cut New York strip steaks took four minutes over medium high heat to brown and release from the pan's surface. An elegant polished metal handle stays cool during cooking and allows the pan to move from stovetop to oven, while 3" high sides gives it versatility – the depth allows for braising hearty stews and, even in a pinch, boiling pasta for up to four.
With proper cooking technique (read: a healthy amount of olive oil), nothing sticks to the surface. Clean up is as simple as wiping a warm soapy sponge over the pan. While I'll continue to use my beat-up nonstick skillet for grilled cheeses and fried eggs, the Weeknight Pan is a solid investment that is sure to yield long-term gains. [$179.95, crateandbarrel.com]