How Ina Garten Takes Store-Bought Ice Cream To The Next Level For Spring

Many will recognize Ina Garten as the Barefoot Contessa with her contemporary takes on comfort food on the Food Network. Others perhaps know her from her numerous published cookbooks. But did you know that the same warm personality who welcomes audiences into her test kitchen also has her pilot's license, worked for the White House, and has never seen herself on television (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet)?

Garten is apparently full of surprises. Her recipes are often simple and approachable while also offering a unique level of elevation. However, on an appearance on the "Today" show, she gave a particular tip that, while surprisingly simple, will make your springtime dessert divine.

Basic vanilla ice cream can be the best summertime dessert, from melty goodness running down your hand as you try to consume your cone to spooning up the mix of oozy, sweet cream and toppings in your to-go cup. But who knew that ice cream could usher in spring so well as Ina's ideas? Her secret trick to adding notes of springtime to simple ice cream for after-dinner sweetness is limoncello.

How to up your ice cream game using limoncello

Limoncello is quite simply a lemon-flavored liqueur hailing from the Amalfi coast. As La Cucina Italia describes, the process to make it is fairly easy, involving maceration of lemon peels in alcohol and then combining the results with sugar and water. There are plenty of simple recipes, but it's often easy to find on shelves as well.

While Limoncello's citrusy flavor with woodsy undertones makes it a go-to springtime sip, it's also considered a "digestive," according to IA-Native Spirits. Its ability to help the body digest after a meal makes it the perfect punctuation to dinner.

Garten's suggestion is to drizzle the light digestif over a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. As with the limoncello, you could certainly make your own ice cream, or choose from any of the top brands. According to Food Pairing, flavors like ginger, blueberry, or cinnamon also pair well with limoncello, offering other options for ice cream flavors outside of vanilla.

If you're looking to add this dish to either your next dinner party or your nightly repertoire, it's likely a good idea to keep that bottle in the fridge or even the freezer. Given the alcohol content, it won't freeze, and it also won't melt your ice cream like those summer temperatures will.