Valentine’s Day Dinner

By Alisa Star

AMORE… love is in the air! It’s a day where people all over the world celebrate love. It’s a day to show affection and friendship and celebrate over a romantic dinner together. We often splurge over that expensive meal with the one we love, making reservations at the most romantic restaurant around the town.

This Valentine’s Day treat you and your loved one to the perfect romantic candlelight dinner for two at home, with this mouthwatering recipe and decadent wine pairing meal. With a few key ingredients and some simple steps, you will be finding yourself creating the perfect Valentine dinner.

Nothing says LOVE like homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Everything about it is romantic, even where the recipe originated — Italy. To make this decadent rich sauce is a bit time consuming, to slow simmer it for hours is the key to a delicious mouthwatering sauce, the longer it simmers, the more the flavors bloom into pure bliss.

For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 egg
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tbsp good olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cans plum tomato puree
1/2 cup good red wine such as Chianti
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped basil
1 tsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

1 — Combine ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper, and egg in a bowel. Combine lightly with a fork, make sure to mix all the ingredients together well. Using your hands form the fixture into 2-3 inch meatballs. You should have enough for 12-14 meatballs.
2 — Pour vegetable oil into skillet to a depth of about 1/4 inch deep, heat oil to a medium heat. Place meatballs in batches and brown on all sides, turning carefully with a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. (If you don’t want to fry the meatballs, you can bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes). Set aside. Discard oil, but don’t clean pan.
3 — For the sauce, heat olive oil in the same pan. Add onions and saute over medium heat until they are translucent, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the wine and cook on high heat, stir and scrape bottom of pan until the liquid evaporates; this takes about 3 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and the puree, and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add parsley, basil, and thyme salt and pepper. Simmer for another hour.
4- Return meatballs to sauce, cover on low heat, simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti, grate fresh parmesan over top. Place basil leaves over top of meatballs for garnish.

South American and Californian wines like cabernet Sauvigon, merlot and malbec all go well with spaghetti and meatballs. Tomato based sauces have high acidity, and need wines with equal or higher acidity levels to match them. If you like a sweeter wine I would go with a malbec, Kaiken Ultra Malbec is a great choice. If you like a bolder flavor with more tannins, go with a good Cabernet, Caymus cab is good, or 2018 Prisoner cab will pair just as equal. If you’re a merlot lover, try Duckhorn Vineyard Merlot, it’s quite popular, and will pair great with red sauce.

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