Valentine's Day

30 Romantic Dinners to Make at Home for Valentine’s Day

updated Nov 30, 2023
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An overhead view of sliced steak au poivre with french fries on a plate on a marble surface.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Everyone knows that

staying home on Valentine’s Day

Quick but Fancy Pastas

1 / 9
Orecchiette with Caramelized Fennel and Spicy Sausage

his earthy winter pasta isn’t complicated, and that’s exactly what makes it perfect.

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2 / 9
Lemon Caper Pasta

It’s a dish that’s right for just about any moment, whether you have an almost-empty pantry and it’s late and you’re hungry on a Wednesday, or you’re cooking for a few friends over the weekend.

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3 / 9
Caramelized Figs and Ravioli with Rosemary Brown Butter & Crispy Prosciutto

It’s luxurious, surprising, and comforting all at the same time.

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4 / 9
Pasta with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

If you love Brussels sprouts and big bowls of pasta, this is the dish for you.

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5 / 9
One-Pot Shrimp Scampi

This shrimp scampi comes together quickly and all in one pot. The pasta is boiled in the pot and drained, then it waits patiently while the shrimp is cooked in the same pot before the pasta is tossed back in and everything is combined.

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6 / 9
Brown Butter Parmesan Pasta
Toss warm strands of spaghetti with brown butter, panko, and a sprinkle of Parm and you've got an ultra-comforting meal that comes together in minutes.
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7 / 9
Fettuccine Alfredo

Rich and creamy fettuccine Alfredo is a fan favorite for good reason, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play with the classic a bit.

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8 / 9
Creamy Asparagus and Shrimp Pasta

A simple pan sauce can elevate even the most basic meals. Here, a creamy Alfredo-style sauce with Pecorino cheese makes a sublime meal of linguine, asparagus, and shrimp.

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9 / 9
Ruth Reichl's Savory Sweet Pasta for Michael

This pasta from Reichl leans heavily on anchovies — one of my favorite pantry staples — for the briny undercurrent that coils around each piece of pasta and gives the dish its savory balance despite the generous scattering of yellow raisins.

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Sexy Seafood

1 / 8
Ottolenghi's Bridget Jones' Pan-Fried Salmon with Pine Nut Salsa

Second to the recipe title, the pine nut salsa — made with briny capers, green olives, currants, fresh herbs, and lemon — immediately got my attention.

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2 / 8
Garlic Basil Shrimp Farrotto
An easy recipe for a farro risotto with shrimp, garlic, and fresh basil.
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3 / 8
Stir-Fried Chili-Lemon Shrimp and Rice Noodles

As for veggies, Broccolini is easy to prep and it cooks quickly, but you can substitute regular broccoli or even asparagus if you like.

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4 / 8
Nobu's Miso-Marinated Black Cod Recipe

This recipe is adapted from Nobu: The Cookbook, which my partner gifted to me many years ago after we visited Nobu’s restaurant and swooned over the omakase tasting menu.

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5 / 8
Crab Cakes with Rémoulade

This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight meal, but special enough for entertaining.

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6 / 8
Mussels in Irish Cider

If you can’t find pancetta or need a cheaper alternative, thick-cut bacon is a great substitute that will also add some smoky flavor. When picking cider, look for one that is dry and not too sweet.

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7 / 8
Shuck an Oyster
It can take a bit of practice to get comfortable shucking oysters, so be patient. The reward is absolutely worth it.
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8 / 8
Honey Garlic Shrimp

This generously serves two as a main, with no plan for leftovers, as I’m of the opinion shrimp are best just after they are cooked.

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Classic Fancy Foods

1 / 10
Steak au Poivre
Peppercorn-crusted steak served with Cognac-cream sauce is the ultimate fancy French meal to make at home.
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2 / 10
Slow Cooker Creamy French Mustard Chicken
Tender braised chicken bathed in a creamy French mustard wine sauce.
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3 / 10
Slow-Cooked Boeuf Bourguignon

This classic French dish, made so popular by a certain Ms. Julia Child, is the kind of stew that moves you from one level of home cooking to the next.

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4 / 10
Flank Steak with Bourbon Cream Sauce
Swirled with smoky, sweet bourbon, a splash of stock, and some cream, this combo takes flank steak to a new level.
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5 / 10
Mushroom and Leek Risotto

This recipe is flexible! You can use all fresh mushrooms, or a mixture of dried and fresh. Whatever appeals to you (or, of course, whatever your mushroom-hunting friends bring to your door).

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6 / 10
How To Roast a Leg of Lamb
Everything you need to know to roast a perfectly cooked leg of lamb for your holiday meal.
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7 / 10
Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

The best thing about pork tenderloin is that it is very lean and cooks quickly. The trickiest thing about pork tenderloin is that it is very lean and cooks quickly.

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8 / 10
Duck Breast with Pomegranate Citrus Glaze

Duck breast can be every bit as expensive as steak, and it has a juicy richness to match a good steak’s luxury. But it’s a little lighter, and, done right, not quite so fatty and overwhelmingly rich.

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9 / 10
Steak with Drunken Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions & Roasted Blue Cheese Potatoes

The ingredients are minimal, the taste is huge, and it can be a meal for just one or a crowd. The whole thing comes together in just about 30 minutes, and will be a meal to remember.

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10 / 10
Pork Chop au Poivre
This peppercorn-crusted pork chop is a new take on the classic French dish.
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