Barefoot Contessa: 3 of Ina Garten’s Best Pasta Recipes for a Crowd

Need a pasta dish that can serve lots of people? Don’t spend hours in the kitchen. Instead, try an Ina Garten pasta recipe. Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, has many pasta recipes. These are just a few of them that are perfect for serving crowds. 

1. Turkey Lasagna

Ina Garten smiles as she stirs food with a wooden spoon on the Today show
Ina Garten | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

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First up is this classic Barefoot Contessa dish. Originally featured in Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, the Food Network star’s Turkey Lasagna recipe is great for serving lots of people. Adjust the recipe accordingly or freeze leftovers for later. 

Here are the ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Turkey Lasagna, according to the Food Network:

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion 
  • Garlic cloves
  • Sweet Italian turkey sausage
  • Crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
  • Tomato paste
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lasagna noodles
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Extra-large egg
  • Fresh mozzarella

Here’s how Garten makes it. She heats “good” olive oil — Garten uses Olio Santo olive oil and has for years — in a pan before cooking the onions, garlic, and turkey sausage.

Then the tomatoes, tomato paste, and fresh herbs get added. While that’s simmering Garten softens the lasagna noodles in a bowl of hot water. From there she gets to work on the cheese by combining three different kinds. Everything gets layered in a dish before baking for 30 minutes. 

2. Penne Arrabiata

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This dish is for garlic lovers. As Garten said on Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro, her Penne Arrabiata recipe has “an unbelievable amount of garlic in it.” It’s also one of Garten’s more budget-friendly recipes. Although this isn’t a pasta dish that’s baked like Garten’s Turkey Lasagna, it can easily be adapted to serve a crowd. 

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Penne Arrabiata: 

  • Good olive oil
  • Whole peeled garlic cloves
  • Whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes 
  • Whole fennel seeds
  • Crushed red pepper flakes 
  • Dry red wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Dry penne rigate
  • Parmesan cheese

Here’s how to make Garten’s Penne Arrabiata. She starts by cooking the garlic in some olive oil. While that’s cooking the best-selling author chops the tomatoes with the help of a food processor. 

Once the garlic’s done cooking it gets chopped up too. Put the tomatoes, garlic, wine, and seasonings in a pot and bring to a boil. Then cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. Be sure to cook it just until firm and save some of the pasta water. Add the pasta and the water to the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. 

3. Mac and Cheese

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Go classic with Garten’s Mac and Cheese recipe. Her take on the childhood staple is another recipe from Barefoot Contessa Family Style. Want a twist on the classic? Try one of Garten’s grown up Mac and Cheese recipes. 

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Mac and Cheese: 

  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Elbow macaroni or cavatappi
  • Milk
  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh white breadcrumbs

Garten starts this dish by boiling the pasta. Meanwhile, she heats milk in a pan being sure not to boil it. In another pan she melts the butter and flour. Whisking the mixture she slowly adds the milk. Removing the pan from the heat Garten adds the cheeses and seasonings. Everything gets combined with the pasta before going into a baking dish. 

Garten decorates the top with tomato slices and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Finally, the Mac and Cheese is baked.