RECIPE

15 date-night pasta recipes for Valentine’s Day

Some spaghetti for your sweetheart

By Kelly Vaughan

Published February 11, 2022 2:00PM (EST)

 (Ty Mecham / Food52)
(Ty Mecham / Food52)

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If you're not a fan of pre-fixe menus or making reservations a month in advance, then dining out on Valentine's Day probably isn't the best call. Instead, have a date night at home with a delicious pasta recipe, a bottle of Chianti Classico, and a fuzzy pair of slippers. From seafood pasta to creamy fettuccine alfredo, here are 15 edible ways to say "I love you."

Our most loved Valentine's Day pasta recipes

1. Vito's Shrimp Scampi

Hands down, this is the creamiest (dare I say best?) shrimp scampi you've ever tried. Two cups of heavy cream, a few pats of butter, and plenty of grated Parmesan create a creamy, alfredo-like sauce that has hints of roasted garlic. The pasta is tossed with juicy blistered tomatoes and fresh basil for a fresh, colorful dish that's worthy of being served on Valentine's Day.

2. Classic Potato Gnocchi

Making homemade gnocchi is a symbol of true love. This recipe will walk you through exactly how to make it so that you can create pillowy, fluffy gnocchi for your valentine.

3. L'Artusi's Famous Mushroom Ragu with Fresh Garganelli

Couldn't get a reservation at L'Artusi for Valentine's Day this year? Same. But I'm pushing my bitterness aside and focusing my attention on recreating their beloved mushroom ragu for dinner instead.

4. Cacio e Pepe

Don't let the short ingredients list trick you into thinking this Roman specialty is easy to make. While it's not hard, per se, it requires a good technique so that the cheese, starchy pasta water and sizzled crushed peppercorns create a creamy, homogenous sauce. Once you nail the technique, you'll fall in love.

5. Linguine with Clams, Parsley, and Lemon

Linguine alle vongole will always top the list as one of the most romantic pasta dishes—and for seafood lovers, it's one of the tastiest.

6. Orecchiette with Tiny Lamb Meatballs

Although you can't exactly recreate a "Lady and the Tramp" moment with orecchiette, this hearty dish is still apt for Valentine's Day dinner. Cut the recipe in the half if you're just cooking for two (but still want some leftovers).

7. Lobster Fra Diavolo (Pasta with Spicy Lobster-Tomato Sauce)

"Lobster fra diavolo is a rich, spicy tomato sauce flavored with the essence of sherry and tossed with juicy lobster nestled on a bed of pasta," writes recipe developer Anna Francese Gass. This particular pasta recipe is her family's favorite for serving on Christmas Eve, but it's just as special for Valentine's Day dinner.

8. Jennie's Homemade Manicotti

For Valentine's Day, go all out. In this case, this means making homemade pasta for manicotti (think: Italian crepes) and fresh ricotta cheese for the filling, which you were obviously planning to make from scratch, right? Right.

9. Cheesy, Meaty Lasagna

I'm not going to tell you that you can, or should, only make lasagna if you're feeding a large family on Valentine's Day. If I had a dollar for every time I've made a 9"x13" lasagna for two . . . well, I could at least reimburse myself for the cost of the ingredients.

10. Garganelli with Lobster and Caramelized Fennel Purée

This is a restaurant-worthy pasta recipe, which is perfect if you're the type of couple who'd prefer to stay home on Valentine's Day.

11. Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Maybe a trip to Rome isn't in the cards for this Valentine's Day (next year though…wink wink). But that doesn't mean you can't recreate a classic Roman dish at home for your partner.

12. Best Fettuccine Alfredo

There's a lot of pressure to perform on Valentine's Day but sometimes, keeping things simple and done well is even more meaningful. You can't go wrong with this crowd-pleasing, ridiculously creamy fettuccine alfredo.

13. Ravioli alla Sorrentina

Inspired by a meal that Food52's Resident Pasta Maker Meryl Feinstein ate while on her honeymoon in Italy comes this recipe for homemade tomato-y ravioli.

14. Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce

There are a million theories about the best way to make vodka sauce, and whether or not it's better to make it with rigatoni or penne. But I promise that this is one will be very satisfying to serve on Valentine's Day.

15. Ina Garten's Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola

For a love like Ina and Jeffrey's, make her tomato-y pasta recipe. "The sauce concentrates and the tomatoes caramelize and turn jammy, melding with all the other flavors more conclusively than they would in a speedier stovetop number," writes Ina.


Kelly Vaughan

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