Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or your anniversary, you can impress your partner with romantic dinner recipes you make at home or choose to go out to dinner. Dimmed lights, romantic music, and aesthetic tableware will help set the mood.
1. Lobster Mac and Cheese
Lobster mac and cheese is a luxurious twist on a comforting classic that will impress your date. This indulgent dish combines tender lobster with creamy, rich cheese sauce and al dente pasta. The secret to this decadent dish is the addition of lobster shells in the cheese sauce, which adds a depth of flavor that’s unmatched by other recipes. The recipe calls for a combination of three cheeses, including fontina, Gruyere, and mascarpone, mixed with macaroni and then baked under a crunchy topping of panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan. This luxurious dinner is perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal or any special occasion.
This decadent dish can be made in the oven or on the stovetop. If you opt to use the oven, preheat the oven to 375°F and prepare the baking dish. For the best results, use freshly cooked macaroni noodles (such as rotini or elbow noodles) that have been drained. Then combine the cheese sauce with the pasta and stir to incorporate. Place the cooked lobster and pasta into the baking dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
To cook lobster on the stovetop, steam them in a pot with two inches of boiling water. Alternatively, you can buy prepackaged frozen lobster meat at stores like Costco or ask the seafood counter to steam them for you. For better flavor and melting, use fresh cheeses when making this dish. Opt for more affordable cheeses like Emmental, Pepper Jack, or Smoked Gouda to save time. These easy dinner ideas for two are perfect for any night, especially Valentine’s Day or a romantic anniversary. Plus, you can make them without going to a restaurant, but if you want to go out to dinner steakhouse in Cleveland is the place for you.
2. Shrimp Scampi
Impress your date with these budget-friendly and quick-to-make romantic dinner ideas for two. The best part? You can create gourmet meals using ingredients likely already in your pantry and fridge. From creamy chicken alfredo to sweet shrimp scampi, these recipes are perfect for a delightful shared dinner. Even beginners can master this quick shrimp scampi recipe with butter, wine, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and pasta. You can also serve it over rice for a complete meal for two.
This shrimp scampi is so flavorful and tender that you won’t believe it’s as simple as it is to make. The wine adds a touch of elegance to this dish, while the fresh parsley and basil give it a bright pop of taste. This is a great option for a light and refreshing seafood dish, or you can pair it with some savory grits for the ultimate comfort food. Mussels in white wine are another classy and delicious option for a romantic date night dinner. This hearty dish is ideal for sharing, and the slurping sounds you will make while enjoying your dinner will surely be an instant mood booster!
Another great romantic dinner idea is a comforting bowl of soup. This hearty New England clam chowder can be made in under 30 minutes, and the rich, flavorful broth will have you feeling warm and cozy in no time. The scrumptious clams and luscious veggies are full of nutrients that will help you feel your best throughout your date. Pizza is always a good choice for a date night, and this easy-to-make version allows you to bond over the process of rolling out dough and spreading sauce with your partner. This recipe is easily customizable so that you can tailor it to your tastes!
Risotto is one of the most opulent dishes you can cook, and it’s sure to impress your date. It’s not as difficult to make as you might think, especially if you use a good quality cooking wine. Simply add a quarter cup at a time, stirring constantly until it has been fully absorbed before adding more. It’s best served with a topping, such as mushrooms or spinach, to contrast the creamy rice.
Another great risotto dish is this nutty farro version that includes caramelized Honeycrisp apples and fennel. It’s even easier than regular risotto to prepare, and your date will be impressed by this creative twist on a classic comfort food recipe.
The addition of pan-seared scallops to this risotto is delicious and quite romantic. Easily cooked in your air fryer, they look almost restaurant-quality and are a true indulgence for any special occasion or date night. A squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese are the perfect finishing touches to this opulent dinner.
You can also try a vegetarian version of this popular Italian dish by using vegetable stock. Replace the chicken with chopped smoked sausage, which will add a nice savory flavor to this dish. Maple-glazed walnuts or pecans are a lovely topping for this dish, providing a hint of sweetness and crunch. Adding fresh green vegetables to your risotto is a simple but elegant way to lighten up this dish. Roasted asparagus is delicious, but this recipe also works well with sauteed courgette (zucchini) and summer squash.
You could also try this asparagus salad with feta and pistachios for a plant-based option. This side dish is delicious and filling, making it a good choice to balance out the carbs in your risotto. You can also make arancini, which are balls of cooked risotto filled with mozzarella cheese and then crumbed and deep-fried. These are time-consuming to make, but they’re a fun project for you and your date to work on together. Pair them with a smorgasbord of dips and spreads for a deliciously indulgent dinner.
4. Cheese Fondue
Cheese fondue is a classic and one of the easiest dinner ideas for date night. A good fondue recipe uses a blend of high-quality, meltable cheeses that are coated in a thickening starch (like cornstarch or flour) so the fondue stays smooth. If you want to switch up the flavor, try a different type of cheese. Gruyere and Emmentaler are classics, but you can also use ricotta or Monterey Jack for a more American take on this cheesy dessert.
Serve fondue with crusty bread, fresh fruits like Granny Smith apples and Bosc pears to balance the richness, and savory cured meats such as salami, soppressata, and chorizo to complement the cheese’s nutty and earthy flavors. For dipping, use pasta shapes like shells, fusilli, penne, and rigatoni.
When you’re making cheese fondue, make sure your pot or saucepan is big enough for the number of people you’re serving and has a shallow bottom to help keep the heat low. Rub the interior of your pot with garlic before adding the wine and bringing it to a simmer. Then, slowly add the cheese, stirring in a zigzag pattern and coating it with the flour/cornstarch mixture to prevent stringiness. Stir in a bit of brandy and/or lemon juice, if desired.
These dishes are easy to make and will impress your date with their elegance and sophistication. They’re perfect for a romantic night in, but they can also be used for special events or occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Our collection of dinner ideas for a date night includes recipes for seafood and steak, fancy pasta dishes, elegant soups, and more. So, grab your favorite bottle of wine and dig in!
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