‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten’s Favorite Quick Pasta Recipe Is Made With Ingredients You Already Have

Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten has risen to fame through her easy, affordable recipes. Garten loves to entertain guests, and she often features dishes on her show that look formal and complex but are actually quick and easy to make — and one of her favorite pasta dishes is no exception.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten in 2018
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten in 2018 | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten creates simple, affordable recipes

Ina Garten wasn’t planning to break into the culinary industry at any point in her life. In the 1970s, Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, were living in Washington, D.C. when Garten took a job in the White House. However, balancing budgets wasn’t something Garten saw herself doing long term.

An ad for a small specialty foods store jumped out at Garten. The store was for sale in East Hampton, New York, not far from where Garten grew up in Brooklyn. She and Jeffrey went to look at the property and purchased it on a whim.

After spending years at the store, Garten began writing cookbooks. Her popularity caught the attention of Food Network. The network offered her a show, but Garten wasn’t interested. It wasn’t until the network approached her multiple times that she agreed to film a season. Barefoot Contessa premiered in 2003, and nearly 20 years later, Garten is still filming.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten in  2017
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten in 2017 | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

RELATED: ‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Puts an Easy Twist on This Classic Brunch Cocktail That Everyone Will Love

Ina Garten’s broccoli and bowtie pasta can be made with common pantry staples

For Garten’s bowtie pasta, you’ll need:
4 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
1/2 box bowtie pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Fresh Parmesan, optional

Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook broccoli 3 minutes. Remove broccoli from water and set aside in a large bowl. Add pasta to salted water and cook according to package instructions. Drain pasta, and add it to broccoli bowl.

Meanwhile, while pasta cooks, heat butter and oil in a small sauté pan. Add garlic and lemon zest, and heat on medium-low 1 minute. Remove pan from heat, then add 2 teaspoons of salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. Pour mixture over broccoli and pasta. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and optional Parmesan, then serve.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten in 2018
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten in 2018 | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ina Garten also has tricks for entertaining during the pandemic

Though more and more people are becoming vaccinated, rules on gatherings still remain in place in most of the United States. Throughout the pandemic, Garten has continued safely entertaining. She only invites over one household at a time, and she and her husband eat outdoors with their guests at socially distanced tables.

Garten has a few tricks for making a pandemic gathering just as special as any other get together. She decorates the table to create a cozy atmosphere. Garten also provides blankets to her guests and turns on outdoor heaters to make sure everyone is comfortable. And finally, Garten keeps the menu simple, with something such as pizza and salad, so the guests can just enjoy their time together.