Photo courtesy of Three Bridges
Easy multi-course meal for this Valentine’s Day
Chef William Rini shares recipes for an easy multi-course meal that will make your Valentine’s Day special this weekend.
Valentine’s Day is a time to do something special for someone who is special to you. But, with our busy, chaotic days, it sometimes can be difficult to find the time. These easy recipes will go a long way if you’re looking to create a romantic evening, especially if cooking together is on the agenda.
Scallops with Chestnut Sauce and Crisp Sage
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 thick slice of bacon (1 ounce), finely diced
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Cognac
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup vacuum-packed chestnuts
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 large sea scallops (about 1 pound)
8 sage leaves
- In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until the fat has been rendered, about 4 minutes. Add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the Cognac and carefully ignite it. When the flames subside, add the chicken stock and chestnuts and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree. Return the chestnut sauce to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add the sage leaves to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until crisp, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sage to a plate.
- Add the scallops to the skillet and cook over high heat until starting to brown, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately high and cook the scallops until they’re well glazed, about 1 minute. Turn the scallops and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Continue cooking the scallops, basting with the butter, until browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.
- Reheat the chestnut sauce and pour it into shallow bowls. Arrange the scallops in the chestnut sauce and garnish with the fried sage leaves. Serve right away.
Recipe courtesy of Rajat Parr.
Lemon Raspberry Fizz
1 cup Champagne or sparkling water
1/4 cup limoncello liqueur
2 tablespoons fresh raspberries or frozen raspberries, thawed
In a small pitcher, combine the Champagne and limoncello. Place a spoonful of crushed ice into each of 2 Champagne glasses and top with raspberries. Pour the Champagne mixture over the ice and raspberries. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.
Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons for boiling water
6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
6 egg roll wrappers (6 1/2 by 6 1/2-inch squares)
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup mushroom (cremini, shiitake, button), finely chopped
2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
For the Ravioli:
- In a large saute pan heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you get a coarse texture. Place in bowl and stir in mascarpone and Parmesan cheese. Check for seasoning and set aside.
- Line up 3 wrappers on a cutting board. Brush with the egg and water mixture. Using a tablespoon, arrange 4 dollops of the filling on each wrapper – 2 on the first row and 2 on the second – 1-inch apart. Place another wrapper directly on top, pressing around the filling and sealing the edges. Using a fluted ravioli cutter, cut out squares of ravioli. Each filled wrapper will yield 4 raviolis, giving you a total of 12 ravioli. Place ravioli onto a floured baking sheet and keep covered with a linen towel.
- In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of salted and oiled water. Carefully add small batches of ravioli, about 3 to 4 at a time. This will prevent them from crowding in the pot and sticking together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spider strainer, carefully remove the ravioli and place on the plate. Tent with foil to keep warm and continue cooking remaining ravioli.
- In a saute pan, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. When almost smoking, add chopped mushrooms and saute until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Carefully pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Divide ravioli between 2 serving plates. Top with mushroom tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.
For the Tomato Sauce:
- In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
- Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
- If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
¾ cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons Italian 00 flour (see note) or all-purpose flour
½ cup white chocolate chips
- Place baking sheet in 400-degree oven. Butter four 2/3-cup ramekins and set aside.
- Using a microwave oven or double boiler, melt together the semisweet chocolate and the butter. Set aside to cool.
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar and flour. Add cooled chocolate mixture, and mix until blended. Fold in white chips.
- Divide mixture evenly among ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake until tops are shiny and cracked and chocolate beneath is hot and gooey, about 20 minutes. Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve, reminding children that ramekins and chocolate are hot.
Recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson.