Ina Garten Elevates a Pizza Dinner With Salad

Ordering a pizza for dinner? Go the Barefoot Contessa route and serve it with a homemade salad. Ina Garten likes to dish out slices of pizza with one of her Barefoot Contessa salads

Ina Garten loves Brussels sprouts on pizza

Ina Garten speaks at the 2015 Forbes Women's Summit
Ina Garten | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

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The Barefoot Contessa’s favorite pizza? It’s not the classic pepperoni or the more divisive pineapple. Not, it’s something even more unusual. The best-selling author loves Brussels sprouts on pizza. 

Garten discovered them as a pizza topping during a 2018 visit with chef Nick Anderer at his New York City restaurant Martina Pizzeria. She tried Anderer’s cacio e pepe pizza, which has shredded Brussels sprouts on top, and absolutely loved it. Garten shared a snap of the pie on Instagram and said it just might be her “favorite pizza ever.” 

The Barefoot Contessa likes serving a ‘big Italian salad’ with pizza

Garten puts a Barefoot Contessa spin on the classic pizza and salad combination. Instead of ordering a ready-made salad to go with a pizza, Garten recommends throwing together a quick salad at home. 

As part of her Barefoot Contessa website’s Ask Ina, where she answers questions from fans, the Food Network star shared what she’d do if she were having “friends over for a casual pizza dinner.” 

“I would serve a big Italian salad with lots [of] greens, radicchio, and Parmesan alongside the pizza,” Garten said. 

Still a very simple meal, Garten’s suggestion is a perfect example of her approach to entertaining. The 73-year-old’s goal is to make hosting stress-free. That means serving uncomplicated food and sometimes, not cooking. Garten likes to prepare a few dishes herself and get the rest from local bakeries or specialty food stores. 

As the Barefoot Contessa once told Epicurious, “Don’t make everything yourself; your friends will have just as much fun if you go out and buy a fabulous cake at a bakery.”

Apply her idea to pizza night and order a pie from a local spot but make the salad. 

How to make Garten’s Arugula, Radicchio and Parmesan Salad

Ina Garten smiles as she cooks on 'Today'
Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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The salad Garten likes to serve with pizza is her Arugula, Radicchio and Parmesan Salad. Originally featured in the Barefoot Contessa cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, this recipe is about as simple as simple can get. 

The salad itself consists of only three ingredients, according to the recipe on Food Network’s website. As for the dressing, Garten whips up a vinaigrette, which is something she thinks everyone should be able to make. The entire dish requires only eight ingredients. 

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Arugula, Radicchio and Parmesan Salad: 

  1. Baby arugula
  2. Radicchio
  3. Endive
  4. Freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  5. Good olive oil 
  6. Kosher salt 
  7. Freshly ground black pepper 
  8. Chunk of Italian Parmesan cheese 

Here’s how Garten prepares the salad. She chops the radicchio and endive before tossing them in a bowl with the baby arugula. That’s half the salad done. 

Then Garten makes the vinaigrette. Using a liquid measuring cup, she combines all of the ingredients — freshly squeezed lemon juice, good olive oil (Garten uses Olio Santo olive oil), kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper — together before mixing them together with a whisk.

Garten then pours the dressing over the greens before adding a few chunks of Parmesan cheese. And that’s it. The salad’s done and ready to be served with the pizza.