Celebrate Valentine’s Day At Home With These Recipes

By Jacqueline G. Goodwin, Ed.D.

This year, why not celebrate Valentine’s Day at home with your honey and cook a romantic dinner together? Here’s our recipe suggestions and wine pairings that will result in love at first bite. Use your fanciest tableware, fresh flowers, candles, and a crisp white tablecloth, all guaranteed to set the scene for romance. After all, what says “I love you” more than a romantic candlelit dinner for two?


• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 thick slice of bacon 
• 1 leek finely diced
• 2 tablespoons Cognac
• 1 1/4 cups chicken stock 
• 1 cup vacuum-packed chestnuts 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
• 8 large sea scallops (about 1 pound) 
• 8 sage leaves 

In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until the fat has been rendered, about 4 minutes. Add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the Cognac and carefully ignite it. When the flames subside, add the chicken stock and chestnuts and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree. Return the chestnut sauce to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add the sage leaves to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until crisp, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sage to a plate.

Add the scallops to the skillet and cook over high heat until starting to brown, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately high and cook the scallops until they are well glazed, about 1 minute. Turn the scallops and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Continue cooking the scallops, basting with the butter, until browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.

Reheat the chestnut sauce and pour it into shallow bowls. Arrange the scallops in the chestnut sauce and garnish with the fried sage leaves. Serve right away.

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chenin Blanc 


• 2 cups mint leaves
• 1 small jalapeño, seeded and coarsely chopped
• 1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
Pinch of sugar 
• 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
Six-rib racks of lamb (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
Freshly ground pepper 
• 6 ounces snow peas 
• 1 red Thai chile, seeded and minced 
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 
• 1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped 

In a blender, puree the mint, jalapeño, shallot, garlic, vinegar, sugar and 1/2 cup of the oil. Season with salt.

Preheat the oven to 450°. In an ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Season the lamb with salt and pepper; add to the skillet, fat side down, and brown over high heat, turning once. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 12 minutes, until medium-rare. Transfer the lamb to a carving board; let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Blanch the snow peas, about 1 minute. Drain and pat dry.

In a bowl, mix the Thai chile, cilantro, snow peas, almonds and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil; season with salt.

Carve the racks into chops; set 3 on each plate. Dollop with the mint chimichurri and serve the snow pea salad alongside.

Suggested Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon 


• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 eggs, beaten 
• 1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs 
• 4 thinly pounded veal cutlets
Salt and freshly ground white pepper 
Canola oil

Put the flour, eggs and bread crumbs into 3 shallow bowls. Season the veal with salt and white pepper. Dredge the cutlets in the flour, then dip in the egg and coat with the bread crumbs; press to help the crumbs adhere.

In a very large skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the cutlets and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, for 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve the Wiener Schnitzel with Lingonberry Preserves.

Suggested Wine Pairing:  Grüner Veltliner


• 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled, large raw shrimp 
• 1 (9-oz.) package refrigerated linguine
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup chopped green onions
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tablespoon dry white wine
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Peel shrimp, leaving tails on, if desired. Devein, if desired. 

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Melt butter with oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add green onions and garlic, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add shrimp, wine, and next 3 ingredients. 

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in dill and parsley. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon, reserving sauce in skillet. Add hot cooked pasta to sauce in skillet, tossing to coat. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl, and top with shrimp.

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay


• 2 boneless pork loin chops 
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped pecans

Pound pork chops with a meat mallet to flatten slightly. In a shallow bowl, mix flour, salt and pepper. Dip chops in flour mixture to coat both sides; shake off excess. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add pork chops; cook until a thermometer reads 145°, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; keep warm. 

Add honey and pecans to same skillet; heat through, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Serve with pork.

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay


• 1 egg, beaten 
• 4 slices lemon, for garnish 
• 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 
• 5/8 pinch garlic powder 
• 5/8 pinch paprika 
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
• 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon butter 
• 5/8 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth 
• 4 slices lemon, for garnish 
• 4 slices lemon, for garnish 
• 1-1/4 sprigs fresh parsley, for garnish 

In a shallow dish or bowl, mix together the egg and juice of 1/2 lemon. In another shallow dish or bowl mix together the flour, garlic powder and paprika. Dip chicken breasts in egg mixture, then flour mixture.

Heat butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until golden on each side.

In a medium bowl, mix together broth and juice of 1 lemon, and pour mixture over chicken in skillet. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for about 8 minutes. Place on serving platter, and garnish with fresh lemon slices and parsley sprigs.

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

Potato Gnocchi with Pork Ragù

• 2  lb. (about 3) medium-size russet potatoes
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for working 
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed
• 1 lb. ground pork
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 cup chicken stock
• 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• 2 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
Grated Parmesan, for serving

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prick potatoes all over with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until very tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes; let cool slightly. Halve lengthwise and scoop flesh directly into a food mill set over a bowl (discard skins). Mill the potatoes (alternately, use a handheld ricer). 

Add flour, egg, and 1 teaspoon salt; gently stir until the mixture comes together (do not overmix). Divide dough into three pieces and cover with a clean kitchen towel.

Dust a baking sheet with flour. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a 1-inch-thick rope with your hands. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate while making sauce (or freeze up to 1 month).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking pork up into small pieces, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes (drain off excess fat, if necessary). Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until pork starts to get crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock and bring to a simmer; remove from heat. Stir in parsley, chives, and tarragon.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook gnocchi until they begin to float to the surface, 2 to 4 minutes; drain. Serve topped with sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan.

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio