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Be transported back to the Hamptons of the 1970s with Ina Garten’s lobster pasta salad. Inspired by a specialty food store’s (not her own) popular dish of the era, Garten’s version is a little more Barefoot Contessa. Read: packed with flavor and some of the Food Network star’s go-to ingredients.

The Barefoot Contessa recipe is inspired by a specialty food store in the Hamptons

Garten’s lobster pasta salad originally appeared in How Easy Is That?, her 2010 Barefoot Contessa cookbook (find it on page 94). Not only did she share details on the dish but also where she got the inspiration for the recipe

“In the 1970s, there was a specialty food store in Amagansett, New York, called The Store. No summer party in the Hamptons was complete without Bert Greens’s famous Ziti Salad,” Garten said. 

She continued, saying she made the salad with lackluster results. “It had less flavor than I remembered,” she said before adding, “our palates have changed so much!” 

So Garten went to work on revamping the salad and developing her own version. “This salad is my homage to Bert, but it has more flavor — from the lobster, corn, tomatoes, and dill — it’s very summer in the Hamptons,” she said.

Make Ina Garten’s lobster pasta salad in 20 minutes

Ina Garten, who has a lobster pasta salad recipe, cooks with Seth Meyers
Ina Garten and Seth Meyers | Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Garten’s lobster pasta salad is in How Easy Is That? for a reason. It’s, well, easy to make. According to Food Network, she spends 20 minutes preparing the salad.

To start, Garten brings a large pot of water to boil with kosher salt and olive oil. Then she tosses in small pasta shells (she suggests Ronzoni) and cooks them until they’re al dente. From there, she adds corn (don’t forget Garten’s trick for taking corn off the cob) and cooks it for a few minutes until tender. 

The making of Garten’s lobster pasta salad continues with the draining of the pasta and corn. She transfers them to a large mixing bowl before adding scallions, orange bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and cooked fresh lobster meat.

While the mixture cools, Garten makes dressing in a separate bowl. She whisks together “good” mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, kosher salt, and pepper. Finally, she pours it over the pasta and corn, tossing it all to combine. Then Garten stirs in fresh dill, covers the bowl, and puts it in the fridge to chill for six hours while the flavors develop. Just before serving, she gives the lobster pasta salad a taste and adds more seasoning if necessary. 

Ina Garten’s tips for making lobster pasta salad


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Garten has a few suggestions for making lobster pasta salad at home. Similar to other Barefoot Contessa cooking tips, her words of advice are straightforward and simple. 

The noodles for the lobster pasta salad matter, according to Garten. “It’s important to use small shells so that the corn kernels can get stuck inside them,” she said. I.e., don’t use angel hair or fettuccine. 

Also, don’t panic if the sauce seems to have disappeared when the lobster salad comes out of the fridge. “If the sauce is too thick after it’s chilled,” Garten said, “add a few tablespoons of milk, cream, or lemon juice to thin it.”