Barefoot Contessa: 3 of Ina Garten’s Go-to Recipes for Spring Entertaining

Ina Garten is constantly entertaining on her cooking show, Barefoot Contessa. In the springtime, the best-selling cookbook author likes to serve a few classics. 

Ina Garten likes to prepare 3 easy dishes for spring entertaining

Ina Garten on the Today show
Hoda Kotb, Ina Garten, and Al Roker on the Today show | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

While promoting Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro in March 2019, Garten shared some of her go-to spring recipes with Food & Wine. Asked to give three spring dishes she makes while entertaining in the spring, the best-selling cookbook author named three classics. 

“There’s a butterfly lemon chicken, roasted in a skillet. It’s really easy, just roasted onion, sliced lemon, garlic—you put it in the oven and forget about it,” she said before calling it “beyond delicious.” 

Another pick? A main course that looks fancy but is actually really simple to prepare.  

“I love to make a slow-roasted filet beef,” Garten said. “You basically put it in the oven, time it and it comes out perfectly every time.” 

The Barefoot Contessa also named a popular Italian dish for dessert. 

“Then there are things people just love, like a salted caramel panna cotta, which you can make the night before and it’s ready for whenever you’re serving,” she said. 

How to make Ina Garten’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

Garten starts this chicken recipe by making an herb and olive oil mixture. Not sure what to use when she says “good” olive oil? Olio Santo is Garten’s preferred olive oil. Then she slices a lemon and evenly distributes it in a skillet followed by slices of onion and garlic. 

From there, Garten places the chicken in the skillet. She brushes both sides with the oil mixture making sure to pat the skin side dry with a paper towel. That way, the skin will brown. The chicken is roasted in the oven for 30 minutes. Once the time is up Garten pulls it out of the oven to pour wine around (and not over) the chicken. 

The chicken roasts for another 15 minutes after the wine’s added. Once the chicken is cooked it has to rest for another 10-15 minutes before serving. Garten once called it “the easiest chicken dish on the planet” during an episode of Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken:

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil 
  • 1 lemon, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick 
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick 
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio 
  • Juice of 1 lemon 

How to make Ina Garten’s Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise

This dish is originally from Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. According to her official Barefoot Contessa website, the celebrity chef starts by patting the meat dry with a paper towel. Then comes the seasoning.

The beef is roasted in the oven for about 90 minutes. Garten suggests using an oven thermometer to ensure the beef is cooking at 275 degrees. It’s one of the few kitchen gadgets the Barefoot Contessa has in her “barn” where she films Barefoot Contessa and tests recipes. Once it’s cooked, the beef has to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

While the beef’s in the oven, Garten gets to work on the sauce. She combines all the ingredients apart from the oil in a food processor. Then she combines them all together in a measuring cup she leaves in the fridge until it’s ready to use.  

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise: 


  • 1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (4½ pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 10 to 15 branches fresh tarragon

Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise: 

  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil, at room temperature

How to make Ina Garten’s Vanilla Rum Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel


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First, Garten dissolves gelatin in water. Then she gets to work on the cream filling combining heavy cream, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Garten makes homemade vanilla extract. Or she buys “good” vanilla. The Barefoot Contessa’s go-to vanilla brand is Nielsen-Massey.

After chilling the cream mixture overnight, Garten heats up store-bought caramel sauce and rum. It’s then poured over each individual panna cotta before being sprinkled with fleur de sel.

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Vanilla Rum Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel: 

  • 2 teaspoons (1 packet) unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Dark rum, such as Mount Gay
  • 1/2 cup good caramel sauce, such as Fran’s
  • Fleur de sel