‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten’s Pasta Recipe That’s Only 9 Ingredients

Want an Ina Garten pasta recipe fit for long summer days? Look no further than the Food Network star’s Summer Garden Pasta. In true Barefoot Contessa style, the 73-year-old celebrity chef combines a few simple ingredients to make a flavorful meal.

Ina Garten’s Summer Garden Pasta recipe calls for simple and fresh ingredients

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten at book signing
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten | Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images

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No surprise here, this Barefoot Contessa pasta recipe comes together with a handful of classic and easy-to-find ingredients. Most are pantry staples that get featured time and time again in Garten’s cookbooks.

Originally published in her 2006 cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home, her Summer Garden Pasta recipe has only nine ingredients. And that includes salt and pepper.

Garten uses cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and angel hair pasta to make this easy summer dish. In short, it lives up to Garten’s famous “How easy is that?” catchphrase. 

The tomato sauce for this Ina Garten pasta recipe takes patience

Unfortunately, the Barefoot Contessa’s Summer Garden Pasta recipe isn’t one that can be whipped up at a moment’s notice. It takes more than four hours to make from start to finish. As Barefoot Contessa fans know, Garten’s not one for complicated or time-consuming meals.

This recipe isn’t complex — it’s deemed an easy-to-make recipe on Food Network’s website — it simply requires more time than the average Barefoot Contessa recipe. While this pasta recipe doesn’t have lots of steps or a laundry list of ingredients, it requires upwards of four hours to make.

The good news is the prep work accounts for 15 minutes and the rest is spent waiting for the tomato sauce to come together. Garten loves store-bought tomato sauce, specifically Rao’s Marinara, but she takes a different approach with her Summer Garden Pasta recipe. 

The best-selling cookbook author uses fresh cherry tomatoes to make the sauce. She drizzles them with “good” olive oil —  the Barefoot Contessa’s favorite olive oil is Olio Santo —  after cutting them in half. Then comes seasoning, covering them with plastic wrap, and leaving them on the counter while the “juices become macerated.” 

How to make Ina Garten’s Summer Garden Pasta 

Here’s everything that’s needed to make this Barefoot Contessa’s pasta recipe: 

Ingredients 

  • 4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried angel hair pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

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First up is making the tomato sauce, which Garten called “amazing” in a video on Food Network’s website. She cuts cherry tomatoes in half before drizzling them with olive oil and adding minced garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, kosher salt, and pepper.

Then the mixture gets covered with plastic wrap and sits on the counter for four hours. “All the juices come out of the tomatoes and it becomes this sauce,” Garten said. 

When the sauce is just about ready, Garten prepares the pasta for her “dinner in one dish.” She boils a big pot of water for the angel hair pasta, which cooks in only three minutes.

Then she drains the pasta being sure to leave some of the water and mixes the tomato sauce with the hot pasta to fuse the flavors together. Tossed with 1.5 cups of parmesan cheese and fresh basil, it’s ready to eat.