Ina Garten’s Decadent New Year’s Eve Dinner Is Classic Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten knows how to make a New Year’s Eve dinner that’s simple, yet decadent and so easy to pull together with just a few ingredients. Find out what the Barefoot Contessa said she often serves for the holiday.

Ina Garten
Ina Garten | Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images

What does Ina Garten serve for New Year’s Eve?

During a Dec. 11 chat with Katie Couric, Garten answered fan questions, mostly queries about the holidays, including what her favorite classic holiday dish is.

Garten shared one of her favorites is something she always makes on New Year’s Eve because it has few ingredients and is fast to make. The ingredient that makes it extra fancy is a topping of caviar.

“For New Year’s Eve, I always make something really simple,” she said, explaining how they have gone to Paris to ring in the new year in the past. After having cocktails at a bar, they return with friends to their apartment “and I have to make dinner like in five minutes because everybody — you know it’s 11:30 and everybody expects dinner at that point,” Garten explained.

“So my classic New Year’s Eve dinner, which you can make at home, is lemon capellini with caviar and it’s from my first book,” Garten shared. “And so I make the sauce, which is like 60 pounds of butter and lemon juice, and you put it in a pan. And then you cook capellini, which takes like three minutes to cook … you toss it around, you serve it with a dollop of caviar on it and it’s New Year’s Eve. It’s just great.”

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Lemon capellini needs just 4 ingredients and 10 minutes

On an episode of Barefoot Contessa, Garten demonstrated just how simple the recipe comes together. “Lemon capellini is just about the fastest weeknight pasta meal you can make and one of the reasons is because capellini is so thin, it cooks in two to three minutes.”

The sauce comes together quickly, with a generous amount of melted butter, lemon zest, and juice for “a lot of flavor,” as well as salt and pepper. “This pasta is really versatile — you can even serve it with a little shrimp or chicken … you can just have it all by itself,” she explained.

Garten removed the pasta with tongs and added it to the sauce, explaining, “If the sauce gets a little too thick, you can always take a little of the pasta water, which has some starch in it, and thin it out a little bit.”

Barefoot Contessa’s lemon capellini with caviar recipe

The Barefoot Contessa’s lemon capellini with caviar recipe truly is one of the fastest pasta dishes to make.


  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried capellini
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  •  Zest and juice of 2 lemons, plus zest of 1 lemon for garnish

Boil a large pot of boiling salted water with a drizzle of olive oil, add capellini and cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a saute pan, add the lemon zest and juice, 1teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and bring to a simmer.

After the capellini is done, remove with tongs in order to save the pasta water. Place the pasta in the pan with the lemon butter mixture, tossing to coat. Some pasta water can be added if the mixture is too dry. When plating the pasta, serve with a dollop of caviar and the additional lemon zest and serve immediately.