Valentine Dinner To Make With Your Partner

If you couldn't get a dinner reservation Valentine's Day (or forgot to try!), you can still salvage a super evening with a romantic and easy dinner for two at home — one you make together!

Lachlan MacKinnon Patterson, co-owner and executive chef of Boulder's "Frasca," one of the hottest restaurants in Colorado, and his wife, Allison, teamed up to prepare a simple, scrumptious dinner on The Early Show Wednesday.

Lachlan and Allison are part of the growing food scene in their home state. She owns "Allison's Espresso and Pastry Boutique," also in Boulder. He is considered a rising star.

Both are featured in February's Food and Wine magazine. He was chosen as its "Best New Chef" in 2005.

For the dinner, they picked spaghetti and meatballs, with a simple salad made with a pesto-type dressing. For dessert, the choice was, of course, chocolate — chocolate cupcakes.

So, forget running to a restaurant and eating the same meal everyone else is having. Instead, run to the store, pick up these easy-to-find ingredients, and prepare a delicious meal together!


Butter Lettuce Salad with Parmesan and Pesto Vinaigrette

1 cup Basil Leaves
1 tsp toasted pine nuts
1 T Grated parmesan
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup of EVOO

Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and spin till creamy but still slightly grainy consistency.

1 minced shallot
1 T of Aged Sherry Vinegar
1/3 cup of grape seed oil
1 tsp lemon Juice
1 T of pesto
Pinch of Sea Salt
Cracked Pepper to taste

One head of Butter Lettuce
Small block of Parmesan

Combine salt shallots in a sherry vinegar together and let stand for 15 minutes. Then add rest of ingredients adding oil last. Stir gently but not necessary to whisk. Dress one head of cleaned butter lettuce with vinaigrette. Shave parmesan on top with a vegetable peeler.

Pork Meatballs, Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

Tomato Sauce
32 oz whole can tomatoes (San Marzano work best)
2 cups Poultry Broth
1 T minced garlic
1 cup minced yellow onion
1/2 cup EVOO
Pinch of Chili Flakes
Sea Salt
Cracked Pepper

Sweat onion in EVOO over medium high heat till onions are translucent. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for a few seconds than add tomatoes, poultry broth and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for 15 minutes very gently as to not evaporate the liquid too rapidly. Transfer momentarily to a food processor and pulse gently a few times then transfer back to pot.

6-8 oz of Spaghetti
Block of Parmesan and cheese grater

Meat Balls
3/4 lb. Pork Shoulder
1/2 cup of smoked bacon
1/2 tsp dry white wine
1 cup of fresh country bread no crust roughly cut
2 T fresh ricotta
2 T fresh Mozzarella
1 T minced shallot
1/4 tsp crack pepper
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup parsley
1/4 cup oregano
2 eggs

Put all ingredients trough a meat grinder attached on kitchen aid less the eggs. Whisk eggs and add to ground mixture, fold and incorporate. Form into 4-6 balls remember to keep mixture as cold as possible at all times. Place balls into simmering blended sauce, cover and place in a 325 degree till cooked roughly 20 minutes. Spoon meatballs and sauce over spaghetti, grate parmesan on top and enjoy.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Yields 6

1 cup + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Dutch Process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp liquid coffee extract
3/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Whisk oil, egg, yolk and coffee extract in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add half of the oil mixture and incorporate with a whisk. Add the remaining oil mixture. Slowly add the hot water while whisking to work out any lumps. Whisk until the batter is smooth. Bake until top of cupcake springs back when you touch it slightly (about 15 minutes).

Chocolate Frosting
1 1/2 chopped dark chocolate (Valrhona 70 percent is perfect)
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
2 t vanilla
6 c powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese softened

Melt chocolate and butter together over bain marie. With an electric mixer beat cream cheese until smooth. Add melted chocolate, butter mixture and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Sift in powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin.