Skip the boring, overpriced meals and lackluster ambiance. This year, we're cooking at home with our valentines.

Whether you’re prepared to make a four-course feast or just want a few easy recipes that pair well, we’ve got a menu that will rival the overpriced prix fixe offerings at your local bistro.

For the Couple That Loves Spending Time in the Kitchen

Can cooking in your own kitchen be considered a date? We say yes! This is the perfect menu for any pair interested in starting the occasion before you even sit down at the table.

Start with: Frisée and Mushroom Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

The tangy flavor and creaminess of fresh goat cheese is a fine match for the roasted portobello mushrooms, bitter greens and toasted walnuts in this salad. We like the texture and color of frisée and radicchio here, but if you prefer leafier greens, use watercress or arugula—which tend to be peppery instead of bitter.

Main Course: Rib-Eye Steaks with Rosemary and Pomegranate Molasses

The fruity, tangy-sweet flavor of pomegranate molasses and savoriness of onion and fresh rosemary in this marinade work together as a perfect complement for this rich and smoky steak. (If cooking indoors, be sure to turn on your hood or open a window to vent any smoke—and preserve the romantic atmosphere).

Pair with: Prosecco Risotto

Popping a bit of bubbly? Use the rest in this luxurious risotto. Adding prosecco in three stages highlights the wine’s flavor and gives the risotto the best texture. The first addition provides acid and a dry backdrop, while the second makes the risotto creamy by melding with the starches in the rice. The final splash at the table revives the fruity aromas of the wine lost during cooking. And nutty fontina cheese is the perfect foil for it all.

Finish with Something Sweet: Dark Chocolate Terrine with Coffee and Cardamom

When asked what she’d want on Valentine’s Day, Milk Street’s Courtney Hill landed on this chocolate dessert without hesitation. The luxurious dish is undeniably rich yet surprisingly light, thanks to the temperature—chilled—at which it is served. Our inspiration was the regally named French dessert called marquise au chocolat—but we make the base of ours with a dose of strong coffee, an ingredient that enhances the flavor of chocolate. We also include a touch of cardamom for a flavor and fragrance evocative of Turkish coffee.

For the Romantics

Not too complicated, but decadent nonetheless, this menu won’t have you investing too much time (leaving more time for romance).

To Drink: Cranberry-Gin Smash

This drink is the perfect hue to set the mood. In this recipe, we muddle fresh rosemary and cranberries with a bit of sugar, then add additional cranberry juice for color and sweetness to balance the gin. Or try it with vodka!

Main Course: Sea Scallops with Browned Butter, Capers and Lemon

In this recipe, tender sea scallops get the piccata treatment. Their sweet, briny flavor is perfectly matched by nutty browned butter, salty capers and puckery lemon.

Pair with: Skillet-Charred Asparagus with Lemon And Tarragon

For charring vegetables on the stovetop, nothing works quite as well as cast-iron, which retains and distributes heat better than other cookware. We keep the flavors simple and finish the asparagus with butter, lemon juice and tarragon, ingredients that complement the vegetables’ green, grassy notes.

Finish with Something Sweet: Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

With butter-and-cream richness, bittersweet notes from the chocolate and caramel, and sea salt to cut through the sugar, this simple six-ingredient dessert is far greater than the sum of its parts. A true masterclass in decadence.

For the Cozy Couple

Picture dinner and cocktails by the fire—nothing fancy, but filled with warmth and bright flavor. We think this menu will suffice.

To Drink: New York Sour

A twist on a whiskey sour, this is the perfect cocktail to help polish off that half-finished bottle of red wine. Fruity reds work well for this float, but whatever you have on hand will do. In a pinch, maple syrup and agave are good substitutes for rich simple syrup.

Start with: Shredded Kale Salad With Lemon, Olives And Pecorino

It takes all of 20 minutes for this salad to come together, but it really delivers. The green, earthy flavor of kale pairs well with sharp lemon, briny olives and funky Pecorino cheese. We rub the grated lemon zest with a little salt to fully extract the fragrant essential oils. This gives the salad extra brightness and a flavor reminiscent of preserved lemons.

Main Course: Rigatoni Alla Zozzona

Cozy yet saucy, Rigatoni Alla Zozzona was what came to mind when we asked Milk Street’s Rose Hattabaugh what she’d make for V day. A classic Roman pasta dish, it’s a mashup of cheesy, porky, egg-rich carbonara and spicy, tomatoey Amatriciana. This pasta requires only a handful of simple ingredients, almost no knifework and comes together speedily for a bowl full of rich, velvety comfort.

Finish with Something Sweet: Maple-Whiskey Pudding Cakes

Ending the night with a little booze never hurt. These individual desserts bake up with a gooey sauce beneath a layer of rich, tender cake. We tried a few different types of whiskey here: Our favorites were Jameson for its clean, bright flavor and Rittenhouse rye for its spicy depth. Serve the pudding cakes warm, with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

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