This Romantic Three-Course Menu is Perfect for Valentine’s Day
Nothing says love like preparing a meal with your sweetheart, and there’s no better time to pull out all the stops than Valentine’s Day. This elegant three-course menu is proof that a candlelit, home-cooked meal can be every bit as romantic and delicious as an expensive night out. Each course is fancy without the fuss, so you won’t spend too long in the kitchen. (Plus, the salad components can be prepped the night before.) From a savory starter to a refreshingly sweet palate cleanser, our Mediterranean-inspired Valentine’s Day feast is sure to impress your special someone.
To Start: Radicchio Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
One of the most impressive things you can make for your sweetheart is a perfectly balanced green salad. Or, in this case, a perfectly balanced pink salad. Radicchio is an elite salad green: It comes in a variety of colors, from deep ruby red to pink-speckled light green, and its assertive flavor and ultra-crisp texture pair nicely with a tart, lemony vinaigrette.
To tame radicchio’s bitter edge, separate the leaves and soak them in ice water for 30-45 minutes, then spin dry. Store the prepped radicchio in the fridge for up to a day, with a few pieces of paper towel tucked into the storage container to soak up any excess moisture. When you’re ready to serve your salad, add toasted (or candied) nuts, shaved parmesan, and fresh herbs—we recommend chives—to elevate a simple dish into a date night-worthy starter.
For the main course, you can’t go wrong with an indulgent, romantic pasta dish. Our yellowfin tuna and artichoke pasta is a little lemony, a little salty, a little bold, and of course, completely delicious. February is a tiny bit early for fresh baby artichokes, but if you can get your hands on some, they’re well worth the extra effort—particularly if you really want to impress your date.
To up the romance factor, you need the perfect wine pairing. Although most white wines would work nicely, we think a chilled, dry sparkling rosé is the ultimate companion. The delicate bubbles and light acidity play off the bright, zesty flavors in this dish beautifully (and keep the pink theme going). If you’re not into rosé or sparkling wine, a buttery Chardonnay or dry Pinot Grigio would also be excellent choices. And if choosing a wine intimidates you, pull up the recipe on your phone when you go to the wine store; the staff there will recommend the perfect bottle.
For Dessert: Sorbet and Meringues (or Macarons)
To keep things light and fresh, treat your final course like a palate cleanser. A sweet-and-tart sorbet paired with light, crispy little cookies like meringues or macarons make for a refreshingly sweet dessert. Best of all, this dessert leaves the level of involvement entirely up to you. You can make your own meringues and churn your own sorbet, go store-bought for everything, or mix and match to suit your capabilities as a pastry chef.
No matter how much work you put in, be sure to put some thought into the presentation: Use pretty dishes for the sorbet and arrange the cookies in a heart shape on your nicest plate. For an extra-luxe presentation, splurge on some edible gold leaf and decorate your dessert with real gold—your Valentine is worth it.