Rather than brave the Valentine’s Day rush at a fancy-schmancy (read: overpriced) restaurant out on the town, you and your sweetheart have decided to stay at home for a much more personal V-Day dining experience.
While your SO is thrilled that you’ll be cooking up a tasty, home-cooked meal, you’re frantically scrolling through your boards on Pinterest trying to find a recipe quick and easy enough for you not to mess up, but delicious enough that your sweetie will believe that you’re a master in the kitchen.
Have no fear! Here’s an incredibly simple recipe for a perfectly scrumptious Valentine’s Day dinner for two that will make your SO want to kiss the chef.
The Appetizer: Bruschetta
This appetizer is almost universally loved, it’s incredibly easy to make and you can eat it with your hands—how sensual!
- 1 French baguette cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bread slices on a baking sheet. Brush the tops of the bread with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
- Combine the drained tomatoes, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper into a small bowl.
- Take the baguette slices out of the oven. Divide the tomato mixture evenly over the toasted bread. Serve immediately so your SO has something to munch on while you finish the rest of the meal!
The Main Course: Penne alla Vodka
There’s nearly no way to mess this up, and pasta is the perfect romantic dinner for two. It will look gourmet, but it won’t take all day to make. Plus, the luscious pink hue of the sauce is so holiday appropriate.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 quart marinara sauce (San Marzano or Rao’s are both great)
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- 8 basil leaves, julienned
- 1 pound penne pasta
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chili flakes and cook until it starts to sizzle, about two minutes.
- Carefully pour in the tomatoes and the vodka. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring consistently, for 10-15 minutes, until reduced.
- Stir in the cream, Parmesan and half the basil. Cook until the cheese has melted and the whole sauce is a creamy rose color.
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander.
- Toss pasta with sauce until combined. Cook for another minute. Garnish with a few shreds of Parmesan and the remaining basil.
The Dessert: No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake
You don’t even have to pull open the oven door for this one! The tart flavor of the cherries along with the sweet, creamy taste of the cheesecake is the perfect (and ridiculously easy) end to your Valentine’s Day feast.
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) softened cream cheese
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tub of thawed Cool Whip topping
- 1 graham cracker crust (6 ounces)
- 1 20-ounce can cherry pie filling
- Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping.
- Spoon mixture into crust. Refrigerate 3 hours.
- Top with cherry pie filling just before serving.
The Grand Finale: Chocolate Kisses
Instead of the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates, whip up a batch of these dangerously delicious drinks to enjoy after your meal.
- 2 shots chocolate liqueur (Godiva’s the best)
- 2 shots crème de cacao
- 1 shot vodka
- 3 ½ shots half and half
- Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
- Serve and enjoy!