As with most holidays, Valentine's Day comes down to human connection, and there are few things more intimate than cooking together. We’ve teamed up with our friends at MeatCrafters to create a simple, yet elegant Italian dinner menu for two. Skip the panicked search for a last minute dinner reservation, and treat your date to a romantic full-course dinner at home with these tasty recipes.
Antipasto is typically the first course in a formal, traditional Italian dinner comprised of charcuterie, cheese, vegetables, and/or fish. We like to think of it as "stuff to snack on while cooking."
Originally a Piedmontese dip, Bagna Cauda is like an Italian version of fondue, swapping garlic and anchovies for cheese. Sure, you could make fondue, but this isn't the 1970s. If you're squeamish about using anchovies - don't be. Once you cook them down with garlic, butter, and oil, they’ll lose their fishy flavor and taste deliciously earthy and savory.
Asparagus with Duck Breast Prosciutto
If you don't end up dipping the raw asparagus into the bagna cauda, we recommend simply roasting them in the oven with salt, pepper and olive oil, and serving with slices of MeatCrafters duck breast prosciutto. Like it's pork counterpart, the dry-cured duck breast adds a richness to the bright, clean asparagus.
Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli
Pasta as a main course shouldn’t be overly complicated. As with most of these recipes, the goal is to spend time together in the kitchen, not scrubbing a million pots and pans. All you need to do is brown some high-quality sausage, sauté vegetables in the same pan to pick up the fond, and then toss it all together with pasta and a little more olive oil (and butter for that “secret” restaurant finish.)
Chocolate Spoon Cake with Ganache and Orange “Gremolata”
We planned on getting fancy with dessert, stealing the flavors from sanguinaccio dolce and making chocolate lava cake. Unfortunately, our ganache never froze, so we ended up drizzling it on top along with a mix of toasted pine nuts, raisins, and fresh orange zest. Is it delicious? Absolutely. Do we feel comfortable using this as a point to illustrate how, even if things go wrong, as long as you’re together with chocolate, it’s still a good Valentine’s Day? Mostly. Did we eat several spoonfuls of toasted pine nuts, raisins, orange zest, and ganache to make us feel better about our baking missteps? No comment.