Barefoot Contessa: Ina Garten Once Revealed 4 of the Best Recipes She’s Ever Made on-Air

Ina Garten’s been on TV since her cooking show premiered in 2002. Filming Barefoot Contessa in her “barn” which is located only steps from her home in East Hampton, New York, she makes dozens of meals. But some recipes stand out to the Food Network star as being some of the best she’s ever made on camera. 

1. Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits

'Barefoot Contessa' Ina Garten on the 'Today' show in 2017
Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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A twist on the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, this dessert is served in individual glasses. According to what Garten once told Food & Wine, the parfaits were a hit when she made them on an episode of Barefoot Contessa

“There was one the other day from my newest cookbook, called Barefoot Contessa at Home—a pumpkin mousse parfait,” she said when asked about the best recipes she’s made on-air. “People were sticking their tongues into the parfait glasses. I think that gets high marks.”

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Ingredients for Garten’s Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits:

  •  1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1 packet (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 (15-ounce can) pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • 8 to 10 chopped ginger cookies
  • Crystallized ginger, for decoration, optional

2. Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Garten’s most popular dessert on Food Network’s website, this particular chocolate cake recipe has thousands of reviews and averages five stars. When Garten made the cake on Barefoot Contessa and people couldn’t get enough of it. 

“In my new book, there’s the most fabulous chocolate cake I’ve ever made,” she said. “I recently made it on film and everyone was just, like, face down in the chocolate cake. It’s moist but very light. I make it with buttermilk and coffee. And the frosting is incredibly easy.”

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Ingredients for Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake: 

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

3. Parker’s Beef Stew

As far as savory recipes go, Garten highlighted her beef stew as one of the best she’s ever made on camera. 

“It’s marinated in red wine, and someone told me it’s one of the more popular recipes on the Food Network website,” she said.

At the time of publication, Parker’s Beef Stew averages 4.5 stars and has been reviewed 436 times. 

“I like to take something that’s classic and turn up the volume: The red wine really gets into the meat, and it’s made with sun-dried tomatoes and all kinds of vegetables, and it’s intensely flavored,” she added. “Plus, I like to serve it over grilled bread so it absorbs the sauce.”

Ingredients for Garten’s Parker’s Beef Stew: 

  • 2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
  • 1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) chicken stock or broth
  • 1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

4. Rack of lamb with orzo and roasted vegetables

Garten also highlighted her rack of lamb with orzo and roasted vegetables, both of which are featured on her Barefoot Contessa website. Technically two Barefoot Contessa recipes, Garten called her Rack of Lamb and Herbed Orzo with Feta “so simple but great for entertaining.” 

“I like things that have a lot of texture,” she said. “The rack of lamb has a rosemary crust and mustard, and it’s so easy but special. The orzo has feta cheese that contrasts with the roasted vegetables, which are caramelized and sweet, and there’s also fresh basil.”

Ingredients for Garten’s Rack of Lamb:

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 racks of lamb, “frenched”

Ingredients for Garten’s Herbed Orzo with Feta:

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Good olive oil
  • 3/4 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup medium-diced hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
  • 3/4 pound good feta cheese, large-diced