Ina Garten Cooks 1 Pasta Dish To Make Herself ‘Feel So Much Better’

Ina Garten has a dish for every occasion. Sunday brunch? She’s got an entire menu ready to go. Fourth of July barbecue? Time to make her popular American flag cake. And, yes, she’s got a dish for when coronavirus, lockdown, and winter get to be too much. When the longtime host of Barefoot Contessa is feeling low, she turns to one a cheesy pasta dish. 

Ina Garten speaks onstage during a talk with Helen Rosner at the 2019 New Yorker Festival
Ina Garten | Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Ina Garten has an entire cookbook dedicated to comfort food

The  Food Network star knows a lot about comfort food. Garten’s literally written the book on it. In 2020, Garten debuted Modern Comfort Food, her 12th and latest cookbook. With 85 new recipes, the celebrity chef’s cookbook features, as BarefootContessa.com says, dishes “inspired by childhood favorites–but with the volume turned way up!”

Flip through the pages and find recipes for Boston Cream Pie — a dessert Garten spent years perfecting — Black and White Cookies, roasted potatoes that crashed Garten’s Barefoot Contessa site, Pomegranate Gimlets, and more. 

Hitting shelves on October 6, 2020, Garten had no idea how well-timed her cookbook would be. She began working on it about two years in advance and only knew there’d be a presidential election. 

The Barefoot Contessa makes Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragù to ‘feel so much better’

On January 8, 2021, Garten shared a recipe that lifts her spirits. 

“We’re all a little cranky these days because it’s winter, it gets dark early, and we’ve been dealing with the virus for so long,” she wrote on her Barefoot Contessa site. “This is when I crave a big bowl of stew or a pan of cheesy baked pasta. Fortunately, with my Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragù, I don’t have to choose because it’s both!”

The 73-year-old continued, giving directions on how to make the dish. And, spoiler alert, if Garten were to make it on Barefoot Contessa, she’d probably end it with one of her signature catchphrases, “How easy is that?”

“First, I make a rich lamb stew by sautéing onions, carrots, and fennel, then add ground lamb, tomatoes, garlic, and simmer it with almost a whole bottle of earthy red wine,” she wrote. “Then I cook some rigatoni, drain it, and add it to the lamb stew plus lots of fresh mozzarella, some eggs and cream, and finish it with grated Parmesan cheese.”

“The whole dish goes into the oven and the house starts to smell amazing,” she wrote before adding, “And all of a sudden, I feel so much better! Hope this makes you feel better too!”

Ina Garten has other Barefoot Contessa pasta recipes

Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragù is one of Garten’s many pasta dishes. She’s featured multiple pasta dishes on Barefoot Contessa since the show’s 2002 premiere. Spaghetti and meatballs, Tomato Feta Pasta Salad, pasta tossed with pesto, and macaroni and cheese are just a few of them. 

When it comes to specific brands of pasta, the Barefoot Contessa keeps her pantry stocked with De Cecco and Cipriani. Keep those on hand with Garten’s preferred store-bought pasta sauce, Rao’s Marinara, for a “How easy is that?” meal.