Fun with Food – February 2015

Cook for Your Love this Valentine’s Day!
by Erik Morabito

Cooking for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day can be a deliciously romantic alternative for the usual crammed restaurant scene. This Valentine’s Day I will teach you how to prepare an incredibly simple and oh-so-satisfying dinner for two. Please note, not one bit of this dinner requires exact measurements. It’s all a matter of taste. Trust your own judgment!

Here’s our menu:

Side Course – Roasted Zucchini

3 medium zucchini, split lengthwise
½ c. Italian breadcrumbs
1 c. homemade tomato sauce
extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
½ c. Romano cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375°F

In an oven safe baking dish, place the zucchini halves and drizzle with evoo, sprinkle the breadcrumbs and coat with the tomato sauce and dust with the Romano cheese. Bake till the zucchini is tender. (This dish can be made ahead of time and simply reheated.)

Pasta Course – Penne with Grape Tomatoes & Spinach

½ lb Penne, cooked al dente, reserving 1 cup of pasta water
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 lb baby spinach, washed
4 cloves garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
flat leaf Italian parsley
fresh basil
sea salt
black pepper

Over medium heat, in a large sauté pan, pour in enough evoo to just cover the bottom of the pan and toss in the tomatoes.  After 2 minutes add the garlic.  Once the garlic is lightly golden in color, add the spinach, continue to stir.  Once the spinach is wilted, add the cooked pasta.  Splash in a bit of the pasta water which will help to deglaze the pan and bring all of the delicious flavors together while making a wonderful sauce. (If the pasta seems too dry you can add a bit more of the water.)  Cover pot with a lid and simmer on low till you are ready to serve. Sprinkle fresh herbs over your finished dish. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Main Course – Bone-In Lamb Chops

6 baby lamb chops
fine sea salt
fine black pepper
garlic powder

Preheat broiler.  Season lamb chops with salt, pepper and garlic. Broil 4 minutes one side, 3 minutes on the other, or until just pink in the middle.


Be sure to set the table with your nicest dishes, a pretty flower in a bud vase, certainly a candle too. Tune into Martini In The Morning (of course that goes without saying!) and buon appetito!  If you have questions, please feel free to email me at

Erik Morabito, is a New York native residing full-time in Dutchess County, located in the historic Hudson Valley.  He and his partner Erin own and operate Clinton Cheese & Provisions, a regional cheese market and antiques mall in Clinton Corners, NY.