There are those who love to be taken out for dinner on Valentine's Day, those who celebrate their love with an intimate dinner at home. So it might be time to think about the menu for this special evening. Valentine's dinner should be light and very personalized - hence plan an aperitif with a starter, followed by the first course, and a light second course and of course a dessert. For the aperitif, champagne or prosecco which goes well with salmon Canapés shaped as a heart for that romantic touch, or marinated oysters or oysters au gratin with spices as aphrodisiacs. Buon Appetito!
Antipasti - Oysters au Gratin with Speck and Marsala Cream
24 of oysters; 2 C. of Marsala wine; 3/4 C. of cream; 4 OZ. of Alto Adige PGI speck; 2 of egg yolks; Chives; Salt
Heat the Marsala in a saucepan until it obtains a syrupy consistency, about 15-20 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the egg yolks and stir. Finely chop the speck.
Open the oysters with a knife and place the shells with the oysters on a baking sheet above a bit of salt (which serves to keep the shells from moving around). Cover the oysters with the Marsala cream, sprinkle the chopped speck and some chopped chives on top and bake at 475 °F for 4 minutes. A crust will form on the surface while the oysters will remain soft. Serve immediately. Grazie alla Cucina Italiana!
First Course - Risotto with Crab - Risotto di Granchio e Spumante
For the first course, ensure that you use spices such as Aleppo chilli flakes, or paprika, curry, turmeric and ginger. Prepare a seductive sparkling wine risotto with crab meat and paprika - with a touch of mascarpone.
Ingredients for 2 people:
120 g of crab meat; 100g of cherry tomatoes; 1 clove of garlic; olive oil; 160 g of rice; 1/2 leek; 1 knob of butter
1/2 glass of sparkling wine; 250 ml of vegetable broth;
1 tablespoon mascarpone; sweet paprika; salt
Remove and cut the cherry tomatoes and prepare the crab meat. Lightly fry the garlic with a drizzle of oil, then add crab and cherry tomatoes, add salt and cook for about ten minutes. Add the rice to the saucepan with the leek and toast it for a few minutes, then add the sparkling wine. Then cover with hot broth, salt and cook (it will take about 15 minutes). Towards the end of cooking, add the crab meat to the risotto. Add mascarpone and paprika to taste and season with salt. Serve using a heart-shaped pastry cutter. Decorate with a whole chilli pepper and serve your lovers' risotto immediately!
Second Course - Vitello Tonnato or Arrosto All' Arrancia
You can opt for a lighter second course which can be prepared ahead of time; such as Vitello Tonnato or Arrosto all'Arancia - both elegant and surprising dishes, ideal to serve during the winter or summer season.
Dessert - San Valentino Cheesecake
Finally, the best for last. The dessert should be cake, as this can be prepared ahead of time. In this case the San Valentino Cheesecake - can be prepared even without baking!
220 g dry biscuits; 80 g Unsalted butter; 1 pinch of salt; 250 g Cream cheese; 250 g strawberry yogurt; 120 g sugar
300 ml fresh cream; 20 g isinglass; Raspberry jam to taste
Blend the biscuits until they are reduced to crumbs. Melt the butter and mix it with the biscuits with a pinch of salt. Place the biscuit and butter mixture on the bottom of a cake tin lined with baking paper, then leave to rest for an hour in the fridge. Pour the cheese into a bowl. Add the sugar. And finally add the yogurt, work everything to obtain a homogeneous mixture. In the meantime, heat half the cream in a saucepan and dissolve the isinglass previously softened in water in it, leave to cool.Pour the remaining cream into the mixture. When the heated cream has cooled, add it to the mixture too, take the cake tin with the biscuit base and pour the yoghurt mixture inside. Place in the fridge again for at least half a day, just before serving, sieve the jam and place it in a piping bag, decorate the cake with the jam and possibly adding red berries. Grazie a Cookist!