Along with the pasta I served garlic bread, roasted broccoli, and roasted garlic potatoes, which were a delicious warm version of a potato salad with a flavorful and unique roasted garlic vinaigrette. As an appetizer I made a super cute salad called Romaine Sweet Hearts that featured avocado, artichokes and pomegranate seeds. And you can't forget dessert! The Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries was a delicious, light and flavorful end to the meal. Perfect for Valentine's Day!
Bolognese Sauce with Penne Pasta
Rich, thick, and meaty, this sauce is a star!
Serves 10 (make a big batch and freeze the leftovers!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound ground beef or ground veal
1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from the casings, or ground pork
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup beef or chicken stock or broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 pound penne or your favorite noodle
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse
Romaine Sweet Hearts
A special salad for a special someone!
3 T. mayonnaise
1 1/2 T. chopped fresh mint OR combination fresh parsley and dill
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 c. chopped marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 avocado, chopped
4 T. pomegranate seeds
4 leaves romaine lettuce from the heart
Salt, to taste
In a medium bowl stir together the mayonnaise, herbs and lemon juice. Add the artichoke hearts and avocado and toss to combine. Season with salt. Spoon the salad onto the lettuce leaves and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray
Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
A perfect side packed with bright garlic flavor
Kosher salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 baking potatoes or 4 new potatoes, quartered
2 T. minced chives
1 T. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 1 T. olive oil with a large pinch of salt and a small pinch of pepper, garlic, and potatoes in a greased roasting pan or jelly roll pan; toss well to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tender, stirring after 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
Squeeze garlic cloves to extract pulp. Discard skins. Combine garlic pulp, 1 T. olive oil, more slat and pepper, chives, vinegar and mustard in a large bowl. Stir well with a whisk. Add potatoes to bowl; toss well to coat.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light magazine
Chocolate Mousse with Freshly Whipped Cream and Strawberries
A creamy and ultra-satisfying end to a meal
1 1/2 bar dark chocolate (3.5 oz. size)
1/4 c. strong prepared cooled coffee
4 fresh eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 T. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Break the chocolate and put the chunks in a bowl. Place the bowl over boiling water until the chocolate has melted. Add the cooled coffee, and fold in the egg yolks one at a time.
Beat the egg whites into a hard foam in a separate bowl, then add it to the chocolate and mix. Allow to cool in the fridge.
Before serving make whipped cream by beating the cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until it reaches your desired consistency.
Serve a dollop of whipped cream on top of mousse with fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from IKEA food
Wine of the Night
Meritage Napa Valley Red Wine
The Poet is Cosentino Winery's flagship wine, and it is the first recognized American Meritage. "Meritage" is a name for a Bordeaux-blend of grapes that are grown on non-French soil. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot is exquisite. When Kevin and I were in Napa we tasted this wine and then joined Cosentino's wine club because it is just that amazing. (They also have many other fantastic wines!)It is deep ruby in color, exhibits tart cherry and currants up front, and evolves into a long spicy finish. A bright balanced wine with structure and richness. At $75 it is a very special occasion wine, so be sure to savor every sip!