I know a lot of ladies that want to be taken out to a fancy restaurant on Valentine's Day. They want flowers, boxes of chocolates - all of those fancy things that Hallmark says we should expect. I'm actually the exact opposite; I do like a nice, heartfelt card, but I hate the cheap boxed chocolate from the drugstore aisles. I NEVER want to dine out on Valentine's Day again - you're lucky to get a table (even if you made reservations!), and most restaurants are overpacked and understaffed, which means that the service and quality often suffers. That being said, I don't mind preparing a nice Valentine's Day meal, nor will I turn down having a meal cooked for me!
This was a perfect Valentine's Day meal - you don't need a ton of fancy ingredients (except for the pappardelle - it can be HARD to find!), a lot of time, or any fancy kitchen appliances. This pasta is simple and elegant, without being too heavy, but still 'meat and cheese'-y enough for a man to enjoy. Plus, nothing says "I Love You" quite like bacon, right?
Back to that hard-to-find pappardelle - if you can't find any in stores (it's an wide egg pasta, so it would be in the refrigerated aisle, not with the dried, boxed stuff), use FRESH lasagna noodles instead, and trim them to about 1/2" - 1" wide.
Paired with a nice tossed salad (hit the make-your-own salad bar at Whole Foods!) and some rustic bread (just hit up the bakery), this meal knocks it out of the park! Feeling EXTRA fancy? Add a nice bottle of wine - for around the $10 pricepoint, it's hard to beat anything by Rosemount Estate.
adapted from The Nesting Project
8oz pappardelle pasta
5oz thick-cut bacon, diced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, room temperature
4oz aged gouda, grated
Cook the chopped bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Drain the bacon fat.
Add the heavy cream to deglaze the pan. Reduce, whisking, until thickened. Add the grated gouda and stir until melted and incorporated.
Meanwhile, cook and drain the pappardelle according to the instructions. Don't rinse the pasta or add olive oil to the boiling water!