Valentine’s Day Dinner

There are hundreds and hundreds of amazing restaurants in New York City that are just perfect for a Valentine’s Day dinner. Of course, you’d need to have made your reservation months in advance, be willing drop an entire paycheck on one meal, and it would help if you weren’t fighting round two of the flu…

Lucky for me, Nick’s office is just a couple blocks away from mine, so we were able to meet up for a very fun and very spicy lunch date at a Thai restaurant in Chelsea. And for dinner? I hit up one of my favorite places to shop for food in the city, Eataly, for some good, yummy stuff. Eataly is owned by Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich, some big names in the food world, and they sell very high quality Italian products that are perfect for a date night at home.

To make this meal, I picked up some of their fresh pasta which was a ravioli quadratti stuffed with braised short ribs, spinach, and mushrooms. You could easily substitute this with any type of meat ravioli or tortellini, but I would recommend finding fresh pasta if possible. Another possible substitution would be using regular bacon instead of pancetta, but it’s Valentine’s day, and I wanted to go all out on some really yummy stuff. My wallet certainly couldn’t afford to eat like this every night, but it’s a great treat.

We topped off the meal with some delicious Prosecco that was a gift from my sister and the perfect complement to all the yummy flavors on our plates.

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Valentine’s Day Dinner: Ravioli Quadratti with Pancetta and Radicchio Salad

  • 1/2 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 3/4 pound fresh ravioli
  • EVOO
  • 1 bunch baby fennel, chopped with fronds reserved
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  •  salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 handfuls spinach, rinsed
  • 1/2 head radicchio, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup high quality EVOO

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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Lay the pancetta on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for roughly 20 minutes, until it is nice and crispy and most of the fat has rendered out.

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Meanwhile, bring a large pot of very salty water to a boil for the pasta. While waiting for the water to boil, heat some oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Toss in the baby fennel and onions and season with plenty of salt and pepper. When the veggies begin to brown, set them aside and keep them warm.

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In a large salad bowl, mix together the spinach and radicchio. Then, whisk together the red wine vinegar, honey and EVOO until it emulsifies. Season with salt and pepper and adjust the dressing as needed. If you would like to serve the salad dressed, toss it in at this point. Otherwise, keep it off to the side and you and your date can use as much or as little as you’d like.

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At this point, the water should be boiling. Cook the pasta for only 4 or 5 minutes, fresh pasta doesn’t take long to cook. Drain the pasta and toss it with a splash of olive oil in the skillet. Mix in the fennel and onion and pretty it up with some of the fennel fronds.

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Remove the pancetta from the oven and allow it to cool enough to be handled. Cut it up into small pieces and toss it in with the salad. Serve up your meal along with a nice glass of Prosecco and of course, some Valentine’s Day roses.

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