Sometimes a dinner at home is the most romantic way to spend the evening. These are some of my favorite recipes that utilize a lot of ingredients you probably just have lying around. None of these recipes take a long time, but they definitely feel very special.
I have put the recipes in the order you should cook them, so everything times out perfectly. I think timing meals is often the hardest part!
BONUS: These recipes are all vegetarian, but you could certainly add chicken or shrimp to the pasta dish if your honey is a carnivore at heart.
This is an incredibly simple and beautiful dessert that takes less than five minutes to put together and about a half hour to cook. Every time I make it I get a ton of oohs and aahs, and I don't want to admit just how easy it is. You can get this in the oven and then start working on your pasta.
- Fresh blueberries (You can also use cherries, but there are a lot of blueberries in grocery stores right now)
- 1 cup flour + 1 TBS flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 TBS vanilla
- Dash of salt
- 1 TBS butter
- OPTIONAL: Mascarpone cheese
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Then, melt your butter in a ceramic pie dish in the oven. (A metal one would work too, but it might be a little more likely to stick.) When the butter is melted, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour in the dish.
Pour your fresh blueberries into the dish until the bottom is covered.
In a bowl, add your flour, sugar, egg, salt, milk and vanilla. Mix these ingredients with a fork. You don't want to overdo it, some lumps are fine! Pour the mixture over the blueberries and stick it in the oven. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until you can stick a knife in it, and it comes out clean.
That's it. You just made a beautiful dessert that looks like it took hours. If you're feeling really decadent, you can add a scoop of Mascarpone cheese on top of each slice. And the leftovers make an excellent weekend brunch!
While the clafouti is baking, move on to your pasta.
Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
This pasta dish is dangerously delicious. I always have seconds and just pretend that there isn't cream involved. This recipe was inspired by The Pioneer Woman blog.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 whole yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic, you can use less if you're not like me)
- 2 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce (I think plain tomato sauce tastes better than marinara. We're going for simplicity here!)
- Splash of Chardonnay or Vodka, to taste (I prefer Vodka)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup heavy cream (You could use less if you're trying to cut calories. It just won't be as creamy)
- Grated and shaved parmesan (Grated for the sauce, shaved on top)
- Fresh basil, chopped
- 1-1/2 pounds fettuccine (Fresh or handmade is best. You can find some great stuff at DeLaurenti at Pike Place Market)
First, cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. If you got the fresh stuff, it won't take very long at all! Drain the pasta, but save about a half cup for later.
Next, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions and wait until they are translucent. Next, add the garlic and let them both simmer for about a minute before adding in a splash of Chardonnay or Vodka.
Now it's time for the tomato sauce! Pour in both cans and then add salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything together and then turn the heat down to low. This will cook for about a half hour, and you can stir it occasionally. During this time you can work on your salad and take your dessert out of the oven!
Once a half hour has gone by, your sauce will have thickened and turned a really beautiful deep red color. (Perfect for Valentine's Day!) Remove it from the heat and then pour in your cream and bask in the decadence. You can add some of your pasta water at this point if the sauce seems too thick. Next, add some grated parmesan and then your cooked pasta.
Put your pasta in a pretty bowl and then top it with shaved parmesan and chopped basil. Serve immediately!
Arugula with Toasted Pine Nuts and Parmesan
- Arugula (One bag from the grocery store is perfect)
- Pine nuts, to taste
- Shaved parmesan (You can use the same stuff you already shaved for the pasta)
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 TBS Dijon mustard
- 1 TBS honey
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For this recipe, start by making the dressing. Add the olive oil, mustard, honey and lemon juice to a bowl. Whisk with a fork and then add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the arugula that you've put in a nice serving bowl and toss.
Next, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan. Be very careful with this, they burn easily! I've done this a million times, and it always makes me very sad.
Top the arugula with the toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan. So easy, but so good!
Good luck and happy cooking! Let me know your favorite romantic recipes in the comments.