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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Only two weeks! While a date night out might be how a lot of people prefer to spend Valentine’s Day, my husband and I have always spent it at home. By staying home we save money and actually get to spend more quality time together because we’re not driving, waiting at a restaurant, and trying to figure out what to do. We also don’t have to pay a babysitter because we eat our dinner and spend time together after we put our 2-year old daughter to bed around 7 pm.
If you’re looking for a great date night at home recipe, I have it right here! Spinach and Ricotta Orrechiette is the perfect dish for date night- it’s light but flavorful, and the Barilla® Collezione Orrechiette brings an artisanal taste and texture that really elevates the meal. Plus it only takes 6 ingredients and 20 minutes to make! I like to serve this dish with a salad and garlic bread, grilled chicken on top is also a great way to round it out!
If you haven’t tried Barilla’s new Collezione collection you’re really missing out! I love that Barilla is an authentic Italian brand, and the Collezione pastas have the perfect artisanal taste and texture that you just can’t get anywhere else. And what I really love, is that I don’t have to go to a specialty store to purchase it! I get this great quality pasta at Kroger!
Start off by gathering your ingredients. I learned from watching way to many Food Network shows how important mis en place is! Mis en place is French for “to put in place” and it really just means to have all your ingredients measured and set out before you begin actually cooking anything. I used to frantically run all over my kitchen while cooking, but not any more! I burn my food less often and cooking is much less stressful when everything is all ready for me.
Add 8 ounces of Barilla Collezione Orecchiette to a pot of boiling, salted water. Cook for 12-13 minutes for perfect al dente pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, begin assembling your spinach mixture. Start by heating a saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely. Cook the garlic over medium heat until it become fragrant, about 1 minute. (Read this post for a tip on cooking with fresh garlic!)
Add 4 ounces (or more if you really love spinach!) of fresh baby spinach to the oil and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it’s all wilted- about 1-2 minutes.
Once the orechiette pasta has finished cooking drain it and then add it back to the pot. Stir in the ricotta cheese, mixing until well-distributed; then add in the fresh grated Parmesan cheese. (Just say no to green canisters- fresh is the only way to go!)
Finally, add in the spinach mixture, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Serve with salad and garlic bread. This also goes really well with grilled chicken!
A date night at home wouldn’t be complete without a romantic setting. A tablecloth and some cloth napkins go a long way in making your dinner together feel extra special. Try adding some candles and flowers to the room for even more romance. And don’t forget the music! Instrumental music like jazz or classical allow for a romantic evening without distracting from your conversation.
- 8 oz Barilla Collezione Orecchiette
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 4 oz baby spinach
- 8 oz whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 6 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente (12-13 minutes); drain and return to the pot.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach by the handful and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the ricotta to the pasta and stir until well-distributed, then add the Parmesan cheese. Finally, add the spinach mixture as well as salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
- (Serving suggestion: add grilled chicken for a heartier meal, or serve with a salad and garlic bread)
I hope you enjoy this delicious meal as much as I do! If you’re looking for more recipe inspiration be sure to check out Barilla’s website, they have lots of great “Wonderful Your Way” recipes featuring their Collezione pastas!