How to Create a Romantic Dinner at Home
I know Valentine’s Day is over. And I know it’s the middle of the week. But today I am sharing a surprise romantic dinner I created for my husband on a Tuesday night.
I think the most romantic things are those that are unexpected. It’s when your husband walks in the door with a bouquet of flowers for no other reason than he loves you. (Dave … if you are by any chance reading this, I really love this idea. Just sayin.)
So why not create a romantic dinner in front of the fireplace on a Tuesday night?
How to Create a Romantic Dinner (with a very easy recipe)
When I first came up with this idea, I knew I wanted to set up a dinner in our home in an unusual place. I wanted there to be lots of candles and I didn’t want it to be for a special occasion.
The weather had been cold (although today it was 80 degrees!) so I thought dinner in front of the fireplace in our living room, would be a perfect setting.
In the twenty-one years we have lived here, we have never had dinner in front of the fireplace.
At first I thought maybe we could sit on the floor at the coffee table. But to be honest, that is never comfortable when you have to sit sideways, on the floor (with nowhere to put your legs!). I decided I needed to come up with a table so we could sit and almost feel like we were at a restaurant. Eating inside by the fireplace.
Who would have ever thought re-creating an indoor dining experience would be such a novel idea?
To be honest, I can’t even remember when we last had indoor dining in Southern California. Maybe eight months ago?
So here is our table in our living room.
When you see what I used to make my “table” then you will understand why I had to use a tablecloth.
I used a frame from one of my Container Store Elfa drawer units and two of the leaves from my dining room table. I think that’s pretty creative, right?
It looks a lot prettier with the table cloth and my copper chargers and candlesticks. The thicker candlesticks are ones I made with metallic copper leaf.
For dinner I made a Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce.
You might remember when I last shared this recipe and I made homemade pasta. But since our dinner was on a Tuesday, a “school night”, I decided to make a much easier version.
I made the Brown Butter Sage Sauce, but I used Mushroom Agnolotti pre-made Ravioli from Buitoni. You know, the “store bought” kind.
I served it with a Caesar Salad and it was fantastic.
In case you want to make the recipe, here it is.
Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
This homemade butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter sauce just melts in your mouth. It is probably the best pasta recipe I have ever made. It really is that good.
- Ravioli Filling
- 9 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash puree
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- cheese, plus 2 ounces
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 recipe pasta dough, rolled out into wide
- ribbons, about ¼”-inch thick
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Basic Pasta Dough
- About 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- To make pasta, mound the flour on a work surface.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and add the egg, olive oil and salt.
- Mix the egg and oil together with a fork and gradually incorporate some of the flour to make a smooth dough.
- When the dough has formed enough that you can handle it, continue to work in the flour by hand (without the fork).
- When the dough is sturdy enough roll it through the pasta machine and continue to add flour. When the dough is no longer sticky, stretch it with the pasta machine and cut into the desired shape.
- To make ravioli, in a large saute pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter.
- Add the shallots and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the squash puree and cook until the mixture is slightly dry, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the cream and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons cheese and nutmeg, to taste.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cool completely.
- Cut the pasta ribbons into 3-inch squares.
- Place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each pasta square.
- Bring 1 corner of the square to the other, forming a triangle and seal the pasta completely.
- Add the pasta to pot of boiling salted water.
- Cook until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes or until the pasta floats and is pale in color.
- Remove the pasta from the water and drain well.
- Season the pasta with salt and pepper.
- In a large saute pan, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter.
- Add the sage to the butter and continue to cook until the butter starts to brown.
- Remove from the heat.
- Place some of the pasta in the center of each serving plate.
- Spoon the butter sauce over the pasta.
- Sprinkle the 2 ounces of cheese over each plate and garnish with parsley.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 373mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 9g
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Doesn’t this look delicious?
Earlier today, my husband Dave asked what I was setting up in the living room. I told him I was setting up a romantic dinner for the two of us.
He asked “For when?”, because he somehow assumed that this special dinner wouldn’t be on a Tuesday night. Then he asked, “What’s the special occasion”? Of course, I answered, “Nothing!”.
Poor guy. I am sure he walked away checking the date in his mind for fear that he forgot an important date.
The Romantic Dinner
Oh my gosh, it was perfect! We opened up a bottle of wine, lit all of the candles, and sat and ate and talked for two hours.
At one point we both laughed, saying it really was “just like we were at a restaurant”. But the food was cheaper and we both could drink wine because we didn’t have to worry about driving home.
(Of course, the one catch was that I still had to finish writing my blog post after dinner. I know you aren’t surprised.)
This was such an easy and spontaneous evening.
And it was perfect.
I cannot wait to do it again.
You seriously need to think about trying this.
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Leslie, you are so right! It’s the unexpected surprises that are the BEST!
What a lovely dinner idea. I am so doing this the first night we are empty nesters … again.
What a great idea Diane! I love the idea of embracing the newly empty nest (again) with an unexpected romantic surprise!
I had a special day, walk and sushi with my daughter on Monday and a wonderful outdoor lunch in the sunshine with two friends on Tuesday and woke up this morning so confused, thinking it was the weekend!!! It’s nice to turn things around a little.
What a lovely perspectie Eileen! Have a great week!
Leslie, I can’t thank you enough for inspiring me again. I am such a people person, I love to entertain, I love crowds and feel everyday is an occasion to be celebrated. During Covid it has been so hard not being amongst a lot of people. The truth is, my favorite people (my husband and daughter) deserve the same fun entertainment we used to provide to friends and family throughout the year. All your fun dinner posts and table settings as well as decor has inspired me to keep that entertaining going with my immediate family. This middle of the week dinner by the fireplace is so awesome. I am going to do this tonight for sure. They will be thrilled. Thanks for keeping that creative spirit alive in all of us. You are terrific.
Thank you so much Andrea for reaching out to me with your thoughtful comment. This was such a fun dinner, we literally sat and ate and drank wine and talked until the candles burnt out! I am confident that you, your husband and daughter will have a similar experience!
What a special and sweet thing to do. Beautiful table setting and the homemade ravioli sound delicious. Wow!! I have never. It’s the Trader Joe’s ravioli for me. There’s just never enough time.
I hear you Ruth! For this dinner, I used Buitoni pre-made ravioli for that same reason, never enough time!
My husband actually came up with this exact same idea and did it for me. Color me stupified! I’ve been trying to come up with something equally charming to do for him. I am waiting for it to warm up just a little in New England so that I can stage a picnic dinner for him on a blanket in the mostly unfinished playroom above the garage. other ideas?? <3 <3
What a fresh and happy thing to do! I love how you use the things you have and use them in different ways. Restaurants are pretty much open here but the quality is not so much there anymore 😐So eating at home is better sad to say. I love seeing what you come up with!
Thank you Linda! This was a fun one and as you can see, I literally used everything I already had and made a dinner that took 10 minutes!
What a thoughtful and creative idea for a dinner. You not only made it special for your husband but yourself as well. Can I reserve that table for 2 with all the trimmings? I’ll even bring my own dinner, I just want the ambience and a chance to snoop……….I mean admire your home.
You are too funny Mary!
I love this. Hear that, hubby??! Whhhhhhyy can’t we?! LOL (he would be less than thrilled🤪😂) but this is so cool. TFS!