Chocolate, roses and expensive restaurants are nice, but nothing says “I love you” like a home-cooked Valentine’s Day meal. The element of personal touch is the perfect way to show your special someone his or her worth – and without the hassle of trying to book a table on one of the busiest restaurant nights of the year.
Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice, step up your Valentine’s Day game with a bold, flavorful dish and a bottle of wine. Here are our top picks for the best romantic recipes for two.
1. Roasted shrimp parmesan risotto. There’s no quicker way to class up a meal than with shellfish. This recipe comes courtesy of The Kitchn. The dish has an element of comfort but with an air of fine-dining, and because risotto involves quite a bit of attentive stirring, there’s plenty of opportunity for some pre-dinner conversation. Pair it with a bottle of dry Italian Prosecco or a nice Gavi, Soave or a Roero Arneis.
2. Cauliflower steaks with ginger, turmeric and cumin. For an interesting take on vegan dining, check out this recipe, also from The Kitchn. Serve over a bed of quinoa and you have a simple yet sophisticated dinner for two. Serve with a stylish and light Italian white or a French sauvignon.
3. Blue cheese crusted filet mignon with port wine sauce. With a bold, flavorful and a great presentation, this filet mignon recipe from Food.com is sure to impress any sweetheart. Pair with a full-bodied California Cabernet or a Rioja Reserva or Gran Reserva.
4. Pork chops with arugula caramelized apples. This gourmet meal is a bit more advanced, but the payoff is well worth the effort. The recipe comes from Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen. He recommends brining the pork for four hours prior to cooking. Serve with a Pinot Noir or a nice Côtes du Rhône.
5. Lobster stew. Two whole lobsters, a medley of vegetables and three tablespoons of butter make this recipe from the Cooking Channel oh-so delicious. A nice, oaky Chardonnay or a simple Pinot Grigio would pair well with this dish.
6. Mussels with Latin flavor. Chorizo, chiles and beer come together to make the perfect mussels dish from Delish. A tip for cleaning mussels: Remove the fuzzy bits with your hand and then run the mussels under cold water, scrubbing with a stiff brush. Knock off any barnacles using another mussel shell. Try it with a Pinot Gris or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
8. Lemon rosemary salmon. This recipe from allrecipes.com takes just 30 minutes to prepare and is packed with big, bold, lemony flavor. It’s a great, light and romantic dish for fish lovers and should be served with a Rosé or Pinot Noir.
9. Scallops with chestnut sauce and crisp sage. Let this buttery scallop recipe from Food and Wine set the tone for a romantic evening. The dish goes best with a crisp, fruity white, like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
10. Cheese fondue. This fun, communal dinner option is as tasty as it is easy. Simply combine the cheeses in a cast-iron casserole with garlic, have some salami, dill pickles and bread crumbs on standby, and enjoy. Pair with a Riesling or Chenin Blanc.