It’s tempting to believe that the best meals are the most complicated, but memorable dinners are more than a series of gourmet recipes — good food and good company work together to create good ambiance and good memories. So if you’re feeling pressured to craft a complicated dinner this Easter, don’t. With some help from Ina Garten, Easter will be an easy and elegant affair.
This menu focuses on ingredients you probably have in your fridge or pantry, while the rest can be found at most grocery stores.
Before you start, review the menu and recipes, check your supplies to see what you’ve already got on hand, and make a list of the items you don’t. Assuming you live within ten minutes of a grocery and liquor store, the entire process — from assessing to arriving back at home with the food — shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half.
Assemble the dishes in the order they’re presented here, and budget two hours for complete prep: cooking, setting the table, plus a 30-minute buffer so you can enjoy a breather before guests arrive. You’ve got this!
A selection of cheese, fruit and a sweet jam is an easy crowd-pleaser. Better yet, a good cheese board will stave off hanger in case guests arrive early or dinner needs more cooking time. This recipe calls for ham, but feel free to switch it up with salami, prosciutto or any other favourite deli meats. The key is variety: aim for a soft, creamy cheese like Brie or chèvre, a hard aged cheese like cheddar or Asiago, and a strong cheese, like your favourite blue. Add contrast with fresh fruit, honey and fig jam or red pepper jelly, and include a selection of crackers and bread. Cheeses will taste better if they’re set out 30 minutes to an hour before eating.
Champagne or sparkling white wine mixed with crème de cassis is a classic French aperitif known as Kir Royale. Ina Garten’s make-your-own champagne cocktail bar also includes framboise liqueur, brandy and fresh berries. Keep your crowd occupied by challenging them to see who can come up with the most delightful mix and the best cocktail name.
Ina Garten’s Orange Baked Ham is one of those miracle dishes that looks and tastes impressive, but only takes an hour to cook and very little time to prep. It can easily be scaled up or down, depending on the number of guests, and is a classic Easter main to boot. Pop it in the oven at 350ºF, ensuring there’s room in there for the next dish, the risotto.
Risotto has gained a reputation for being labour-intensive, but Ina Garten’s recipe reduces stir-time down to three minutes, while preserving the dish’s classic creamy Parmesan flavour and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Pop this one in the oven about 20 minutes after the ham has gone in, and you’ll have five minutes to remove the ham before you start your three minutes of stirring.
Garlic sautéed spinach adds a dash of springtime colour to the menu, not to mention delicately earthy flavour. Prepare the spinach and garlic while your ham and risotto are cooking, then sauté in the final minutes before serving.
Vanilla ice cream is a comforting, classic way to cap off a meal — serve with a crunchy biscotti on the side for kids and non-drinkers. For everyone else, a drizzle of Limoncello adds a delightful zing.
Looking for more delicious recipes? Check out Ina Garten’s 14 Best Easter Recipes.