A corner table for two at a cozy candlelit eatery will always be romantic. But a home-cooked meal—one that shows your affection and your cooking chops—is a much more thoughtful way to stir up romance. Here are four recipe ideas for the home chef looking to spice up their next date.
Creamy shrimp risotto
A wow-factor risotto is often hard to come by at restaurants, thanks to its labour- and time-intensive preparation. But if you’ve got a strong stirring arm and a desire to impress, a home-cooked risotto is one of the most thoughtful dishes you can make. Asparagus and peas, lemon and mascarpone—risotto can be taken in many directions, but we like to think one made with cream and shrimp is a winner on date night. If your date doesn’t eat seafood, opt for one of the aforementioned flavourings instead.
Pair with: A slightly bubbly and dry Vinho Verde.
Steak and roasted potatoes
It’s a classic date night meal that—if done right—hits the mark every time. One of the most important elements of cooking an impressive steak is choosing the right cut. Tell your butcher how you plan on cooking the meat—in a cast iron pan, over charcoal, or seared in a pan and finished under a broiler—and whether you plan on using a marinade. Then it all comes down to execution. Make sure you know how cooked your date prefers their meat and cook accordingly. Serve alongside a bowl of crispy roast potatoes (a healthy amount of goose fat or butter makes all the difference here).
Pair with: A bold silky malbec.
Roast chicken and vegetables
Roast chicken may be simple, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Especially when you follow Ina Garten’s recipe for the perfect bird—made famous by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as it was the recipe they were making when Harry popped the question. Fresh thyme, lemon, garlic, and butter, are the star players of Garten’s recipe, along with onion, carrots, and fennel that are roasted in the same pan. The result is an outstandingly flavourful and juicy chicken with perfectly crispy skin.
Pair with: A dry, light bodied pinot noir.
Grilled pizza and caesar salad
Sharing a rustic grilled pizza under twinkly patio lights on a warm summer night is as romantic as it gets right? To really impress your date, try grilling your ’za for a chewy, slightly smoky flavour that an oven pie just can’t replicate. Plus, it makes for a collaborative cooking experience that’s fun to tackle. For best results, use high-quality olive oil for brushing both sides of the dough and prepare, slice, and dice all ingredients ahead of time, to make topping your pizza a breeze. A simple caesar salad with a vinaigrette rather than a cream-based dressing makes for a light, healthy accompaniment.
Pair with: A dry rosé.
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