I love making Ina Garten's dishes during the holidays, and these three recipes are my favorite.
Her overnight mac and cheese is decadent, and there are never leftovers of the potato gratin.
But Garten's skillet corn bread is my favorite and always steals the spotlight at Thanksgiving.
As a food writer, I've tested and tasted many of Ina Garten's best recipes.
So it's no surprise that I always turn to Garten's dishes during the holidays. And these are the three easy "Barefoot Contessa" recipes that I tell everyone to make for Thanksgiving.
Ina Garten's overnight mac and cheese is delicious, decadent, and super comforting.
In her cookbook "Go-To Dinners," Garten said her overnight mac and cheese is the "creamiest, crustiest, most delicious mac and cheese."
And believe me, she's not exaggerating.
Garten's overnight mac and cheese features both Gruyère and sharp white cheddar cheese.
To make Garten's dish for four, you'll need:
8 ounces cavatappi or elbow macaroni
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups Gruyère cheese, grated
1 ½ cups fine fresh white breadcrumbs
1 cup sharp white cheddar, grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Garten's mac and cheese is the perfect make-ahead dish for the holidays.
Garten's mac and cheese couldn't be easier to assemble — you don't even need to make a roux. Plus, it requires less than 30 minutes in the oven, so it's an easy dish to bake right before Thanksgiving dinner.
But, more importantly, Garten's overnight mac and cheese is extremely delicious. I love the crunchy breadcrumbs on top, and the sauce is decadent without being too rich. When I made this dish for the first time at Friendsgiving, my boyfriend praised it for being "exceptionally creamy" while a friend said it tasted "like a hug in your mouth."
It's my favorite "Barefoot Contessa" mac and cheese recipe, although Garten's "grown up" mac and cheese is definitely a close second.
Garten's potato gratin is one of my family's favorite holiday dishes.
I wasn't much of a cook before the pandemic, unless you count warming up frozen food from Trader Joe's. But when I wanted to contribute something to my family's holiday menu, this recipe seemed like a good place to start.
Garten's potato-fennel gratin, which appears in her very first cookbook, "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook," is 100% foolproof. Plus, it tastes amazing.
"I love to make potato gratin and fennel gratin, so I decided to combine the two," Garten writes in the recipe's description. "If you make this in an old French gratin dish, it looks wonderful and can go from the oven to the table with style."
Garten's potato-fennel gratin only requires five ingredients.
To make Garten's gratin for four, you'll need:
1 pound russet potatoes (2 large ones)
1 small fennel bulb
½ yellow onion
1½ cups Gruyère cheese
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
If you're trying to make the dish for a larger party, Garten also has a recipe that serves 10.
There are never any leftovers when we serve Garten's potato-fennel gratin at Thanksgiving — it's that good.
Garten's potato-fennel gratin is such a creamy and satisfying dish, with perfectly cooked potatoes and a deliciously cheesy cream thanks to the Gruyère. The sautéed fennel also adds a lovely mild sweetness to each bite.
This is easily one of my favorite holiday side dishes, and it's so much better than mashed potatoes.
Garten's brown-butter skillet corn bread blew me away the first time I tried it.
Garten included this corn-bread recipe in the republished version of "The Barefoot Contessa" cookbook, calling it the "best corn bread I've ever made!"
I decided to try the recipe for the first time before a Friendsgiving party a few years ago, and it was a huge hit.
You probably already have most of the ingredients for Garten's corn bread in your pantry.
To make Garten's corn bread, which serves 10 to 12 people, you'll need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup fine cornmeal (Garten says this makes moister corn bread than medium grind)
1 cup sugar
½ pound unsalted butter
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons baking powder
My boyfriend and I love Garten's corn bread so much that we now make it twice every year — for Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving.
Garten's brown-butter skillet corn bread is one of my favorite "Barefoot Contessa" recipes of all time. It's perfectly baked and delectably moist, which is evident the minute you cut the first slice.
The warm, golden hue makes for a stunning centerpiece, and the corn bread just tastes so deliciously fluffy. It's the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and I can never resist getting seconds — no matter how stuffed I am.
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