Uh oh, you forgot to make dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day. This is actually a blessing in disguise because I’ve got a delicious menu for you to whip up for your special valentine tomorrow. It’s savory, delicious, and not too heavy: lemon basil pasta, caprese skewers, and heart-shaped parmesan crisps. The parmesan cheese is the star of this menu, so splurge on a block and grate it fresh for the pasta and heart-shaped crisps. Make this menu for your valentine as a surprise; or, (my favorite) put on some music, pour a couple beverages, and make the meal together—very sexy! And for dessert? I recommend my Foolproof Chocolate Fondue. Delicious and romantic!
Lemon Basil Pasta
1 pound farfalle pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful fresh basil, washed, dried, and chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, grilled
Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water to add to sauce. In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat and stir in lemon juice. Whisk in cream, followed by grated cheese and reserved pasta water. Stir until cheese has melted and combined. Salt and pepper liberally, then stir in cooked pasta and lemon zest. Top with fresh basil and grilled chicken.
HINT: I used grilled chicken, but this would be amazing with shrimp, salmon, or even a lean steak.
12 cherry tomatoes
8 small mozzarella balls
8 fresh basil leaves
1 thick slice of bread
4 bamboo skewers
Set oven to broil. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and coat with olive oil. Toast for 1-2 minutes under broiler, or until lightly browned. Remove and cool. Wash and dry tomatoes and basil. Skewer a pattern of tomato, basil, bread, cheese, tomato, basil, cheese, bread, then tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Heart-Shaped Parmesan Crisps
4 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Spoon one tablespoon full of cheese onto the prepared pan and, using your finger, shape into a heart shape, even in thickness. Repeat with the remaining cheese, placing each heart a few inches apart. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown. Allow to cool completely before gently peeling the delicate crisp from the mat/paper. Serve as an appetizer or garnish.
Happy Valentine’s Day!