When it comes to celebrating special moments with your significant other, sometimes the best nights are the ones you have at home. That’s why hosting a gourmet date night at home elevates dinner to the next level.
To help you plan a memorable evening with your loved one, today’s recipes come from the cookbook Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark and were inspired by a recent Sur la Table cooking class in Los Gatos, California. If it’s true that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, then this gourmet date night will surely win his affection. Get ready for a night of romance (and great-tasting food)!
Throughout the year, Sur la Table hosts regular cooking classes ranging from dessert and pastry classes to teaching grilling and cooking techniques.
During a recent class (led by Chef Terri Dien, pictured below), we learned how to make a delicious Lemon-Thyme Marinated Steak and Fusilli Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes, Mint, and Burrata. In addition to learning how to prepare these mouth-watering recipes, we also learned how to use a variety of cooking tools (like a Table Top Burner, Wok, Culinary Knives, Lemon Juicer, Citrus Zester and Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus).
Here’s how to whip up this gourmet dinner at home (without having to use an outdoor grill!).
Lemon Thyme Marinated Steak
Total time: 8 minutes + at least 30 minutes marinating
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves (plus torn basil leaves for garnish)
- 3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme, plus more for garnish
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 ½ tsp kosher salt
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- juice of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ½ lbs boneless steak (such as skirt, strip, ribeye, flank or London broil)
Step 1: In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, scallions, thyme, mint, garlic, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pour the olive oil over the mixture, and blend until it turns to a paste.
Step 2: Pat the steak dry with paper towels and place it in a wide bowl. Slather the paste all over the meat, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
Step 3: When you are ready to cook the steak, heat a grill or broiler to high.
Step 4: Use a paper towel to gently pat the meat dry, leaving as much paste as possible on the meat. Grill the meat over direct heat until it is nicely browned on both sides. Then transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5-to-10 minutes.
Step 5: Slice the steak against the grain and serve, garnished with basil, scallions, and thyme.
Fusilli Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes, Mint, and Burrata
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 20 minutes
- Kosher salt, as needed
- 1 lb. fusilli pasta
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- ¼ tsp red chile flakes
- fine sea salt to taste
- 1-quart cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (1 cup)
- 8 oz Burrata or buffalo mozzarella, torn into bite-sized chunks, for serving
- 3 cups fresh mint leaves, torn
- 6 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
- flaky sea salt to tatse
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Step 1: Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the fusilli and cook until it is 2 minutes shy of al dente (it should be slightly underdone to your taste because you’ll finish cooking it with the tomatoes). Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water.
Step 2: While the pasta is cooking, heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Stir in the garlic, chile flakes, and a large pinch of fine sea salt. Cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they burst, turn golden at the edges, and shrivel slightly, 5 to 8 minutes.
Step 3: Add the pasta to the skillet and toss it with the tomatoes. If the mixture looks dry, add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water, a few tablespoons at a time. Raise the heat to high and cook until the pasta finishes cooking in the sauce. Add the butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and toss until they melt and coat everything.
Step 4: Divide the pasta among warmed pasta dishes. Garnish each portion with chunks of Burrata, and top with a generous mound of fresh mint and scallions. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and lots of black pepper.
For more inspiring recipes and entertaining ideas, visit the Entertaining section on Inspirations & Celebrations.