Improving your skills in the kitchen is all about progression. Rather than struggling to make a souffle or tackle some other ambitious and unfamiliar dish, the smart move is to master fundamental recipes that, once you’ve got them down pat, you can experiment with to your heart’s content.

To help you get going, we asked the homecooking aces over at Food52 to break down the seven essential recipes that everyone should know. From beautifully braised meat to the perfect marinara sauce, these classics are not only delicious, but they each highlight a specific technique (searing, roasting chicken, etc.) that will serve you well as you continue your culinary exploits.

 Written by Food52 (@food52)