We started with white bruschetta as an appetizer; toasted baguette medallions with ricotta cheese, lemon and honey topped off with a piece of grilled asparagus. They were delicious and looked phenomenal!
Hard to believe they are so easy to make (perfect for a party or get together, fyi). The sweetness of the honey and the fresh lemon zest really pairs well with the asparagus. And the crunchy bread... yum! He knows what I like. Here is the recipe:
White Bruschetta (adapted from TheKitchn)
1 Baguette; thinly sliced
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 lemon; zested
freshly cracked black pepper
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch Asparagus
1 bunch Asparagus
Drizzle olive oil over asparagus, season with salt and pepper. Place on center rack and broil. Meanwhile mix together ricotta and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside. Once the asparagus is tender (about 5-10 min) remove from oven and set aside. Toast Baguette slices until golden around the edges and warm. Remove medallions from the oven, add a dollop of seasoned ricotta, place asparagus, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle fresh time on top.
This had pancetta in it, which lends a wonderful savory saltiness that really brings out the earthiness of the saffron. And once again, not very difficult. The hardest part might be finding the saffron, or paying for it once you find it. Seriously, 16 bucks for .06 oz. Luckily with saffron a little goes a long way. We used Pastene brand pasta for this one which, at $2.50 a lb, was a splurge (compared to our Market Basket brand $0.99 a lb) , and I have to say I might be spoiled from now on... It was DELICIOUS. We halved the amount of pasta and it still wasn't overly saucy for us, so I think if I was making this for four people I would double the sauce ingredients.
Linguine with Pancetta Saffron Cream Sauce (Adapted from Humble recipes)
1 lb Linguine ( we used 1/2)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 lb pancetta, cubed
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin (we bumped this up to 4)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
1 package frozen peas
1 pinch of Saffron
1 pinch of Saffron
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground black pepper
Set a large pot of salted water over high heat on your stove. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium - high heat and add the olive oil. Add pancetta to the pan and cook until crispy ( about 8 - 9 min). Remove pancetta and set aside. Add garlic to the pan and sautee until it turns translucent. By now your water should be boiling. Add pasta and cook to just before al dente. Add chicken broth, half and half, and saffron to the pan and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer, whisking frequently. When the pasta is done add peas to water and then drain in a colander. Add pasta and peas to sauce, top with cheese and mix well. Plate, add more cheese, crushed black pepper, and fresh parsley as desired.
Finally, desert was champagne strawberry sorbet, which was more like an Italian ice (my favorite!). This one needed to be prepared before hand, but again, was super easy.
Strawberry Champagne Sorbet (recipe from about)
2/3 cup of water
2/3 cup of sugar
2 cups champagne
2 Tbs corn syrup
1 1/2 cups pureed strawberries, Fresh
Freeze champagne for 20 min. Simmer sugar and water together until sugar dissolved and mixture thickens. Allow to cool completely. Add champagne, strawberries and corn syrup to sugar mixture, mixing well. Freeze in plastic container for 4-6 hours. Remove from freezer and process with blender. Refreeze until firm.
We (aka Jon) will definately be making all of these recipes again. It felt like we were in a gourmet resturant with the sophisticated and unique flavors of all the dishes. Definately a wonderful way to celebrate the day of love.