The 3-Ingredient Pasta that Ina Garten Calls 'Crazy-Good'

The recipe has 5 stars on the Food Network Kitchen app for a reason.

By: Drew Anne Salvatore
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Ina Garten's Lemon Cappellini, as seen on Food Network's Barefoot Contessa.

Photo by: Matt Ball

Matt Ball

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We have to hand it to Ina — she always knows what we need, when we need it. Like the comically large cosmo she made on Instagram in April. And this three-ingredient, five-minute pasta dish on the Food Network Kitchen app that's undeniably delicious and perfect for when you have no time to put dinner on the table.

Made with just lemons, butter and pasta, this dish is one of Ina's go-to recipes. In her class, she shares that she makes it every New Year's Eve after spending the evening working up an appetite gallivanting around Paris (oh, Ina). For the rest of us, it makes for a tasty and easy weeknight dinner after you've spent the day juggling work, kids, pets and life in general.

According to Ina, this lemon cappelini is "officially one of [her] favorite dishes of all time." And reviewers agree, calling it "my go-to lemon-butter sauce", "wonderful and so easy to prepare after work", "a keeper for sure" and "honestly the best pasta I've ever had."

What's so great about it, you ask? Ina gives three reasons: One, it's incredibly fast to make. Aside from boiling water, the whole dish takes just five minutes. The secret? Capellini. According to Ina, it's a little thinner than spaghetti so it cooks in just four minutes. Imagine what you can accomplish in the other 25 minutes you normally take to make dinner!

The second reason Ina loves this dish is because it has only three ingredients: lemon, butter and pasta. Together, the lemon zest and juice combine with the melted butter and the residual starchy pasta water to create a rich and velvety sauce that the pasta absorbs for maximum flavor. "I was afraid the lemon would be overpowering and the butter really rich and heavy," said one reviewer. "But it was light and fresh!"

And finally, the third reason Ina calls this pasta "amazing" is its versatility. You can eat it plain as your standalone supper or as a side dish. Or, you can top it with some roasted shrimp or — as Ina suggests, of course — caviar for a heftier main course. Since this recipe is part of the Best of Barefoot Contessa course on the app, we suggest watching the rest of the classes and pairing it with Ina's Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken. How easy is that?

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