Americans spent close to $21 billion celebrating Valentine’s Day last year. That’s not a surprise since between flowers, candies and exuberantly priced Valentine’s Day menus, celebrating with the one you love can get pricey. If you’re up for the challenge, consider staying in and cooking a four-course meal for or alongside your valentine. All four recipes are simple and straightforward, which means you’ll spend most of your special day enjoying the meal and each other’s company rather than in the kitchen. Check out what’s on our menu this Valentine’s Day along with wine pairings from our partner, Panebianco Wines.
Bacon, breadcrumbs and Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil make this the perfect starter to Valentine’s Day dinner – or any dinner as far as we’re concerned. Clams cook quickly once cleaned and shucked, and also require minimal ingredients since you want to enhance not mask the flavor of the clams. Worried about gritty clams? Soak them in cool water for up to an hour and the clams will expel any remaining sand, then they’re ready to cook!
Wine Pairing: Fonzone Greco di Tufo from Panebianco Wines
This Greco has a deep golden yellow color and is characterized by notes of grapefruit peel, pineapple and orange blossom. It lends the perfect balance to clams casino as it enhances the fresh seafood flavor while also brightening it with its mild acidity from the citrusy notes. It’s ideal for first courses of fish, shellfish, white meats and fresh cheeses.
Scallops are appropriately rated (they deserve every amount of praise they get!), but also highly underutilized. They are on the more expensive side, but by opting for a home-cooked meal, you’ll still be saving a significant amount of money. We recommend fresh scallops, but we understand that the frozen variety may save you a few bucks, so they’re good for this recipe as well. The good thing about this recipe is that it calls for a few ingredients. Outside of the scallops, you likely have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry.
An overcooked scallop can ruin the entire meal, so make sure your eyes are glued to the pan when searing. They only take about two minutes on each side.
Wine Pairing: GAVI di GAVI Rolona from Panebianco Wines
Another crisp white wine, this Gavi Rolona is a pale straw color and offers long-lingering crisp and refreshing notes of pear and green apple. The perfect blend of citrus and minerality, this wine is bound to become a favorite and is best enjoyed with omelets, seafood antipasto, grilled fish and pasta dishes with light, savory sauces.
For the main course, we decided to pull out all of the stops with a whole roasted sea bass in salt. Of all the recipes this is probably the easiest, but if you’ve never roasted a fish in salt before, check out the step-by-step tutorial that walks you through the recipe from start to finish. Here you can get a bit creative with the type of fish, as well as the herbs. Whatever you decide, the final product will be flaky, moist and perfectly seasoned.
Wine Pairing: La Togata Rosso di Montalcino from Panebianco Wines
Switching it up for the sea bass, we went with a full-bodied red wine which may shock those who believe that all seafood is best enjoyed with white wine. The La Togato Rossi di Montalcino is a ruby red, well-balanced wine complete with a fruity bouquet and an oak nose. It’s smooth with notes of fresh, ripe fruit offering a nice balance to the savory fillet.
What’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate? While sharing a molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream isn’t a bad idea, we’re switching it up this year with this simple, yet decadent chocolate olive oil ice cream. We’re living in a time where making homemade ice cream no longer requires special equipment. All you need is a food processor and five-hours-worth of patience, and a no-fuss dessert is served.
It’s pretty hard to mess this up, but if you’re thinking of going with half and half instead of heavy cream, don’t. Since the cream is whipped into stiff peaks prior to adding the rest of the ingredients, half and half just won’t do. But that’s okay! Consider Valentine’s Day a cheat day.
Wine Pairing: Drusian Rosé Mari from Panebianco Wines
A simple way to describe this rosé’s appearance is pretty. Its light ruby red color makes it picture perfect alongside the chocolate olive oil ice cream that takes on a pale mocha color with hints of rich burgundy from the juice of the cherries. Not your traditional sweet dessert wine, its fruity bouquet with scents of red berries make it the perfect accompaniment to chocolate desserts. It offers the ideal balance to the richness and sweetness of the ice cream with its light body and fresh palate.
For more Valentine’s Day-meals, check out our full recipe collection here!