Romantic recipes for two: nothing says passion like pasta

Karen Hardy
February 12 2024 - 10:12pm

Australians overwhelmingly associate love with returning home to their favourite food for dinner or cooking with a loved one after a stressful day. Forget the pressure of restaurant bookings: the kitchen is where the heart is at.

WATCH: Was there a St Valentine? Did the holiday really have pagan origins?

A recent survey by Barilla found that more than one in five Aussies agree pasta is a food they associate with love. When asked what the pasta recipe for romance is, the most popular (28 per cent) is seafood pasta - for those looking to add a touch of passion to their plate, consider making lobster linguine for a loved one, clam spaghetti for crushes or prawn penne for those you're passionate about.

Barilla has collaborated with chef Tom Walton to create these recipes for Valentine's Day.

For more inspiration, head to barilla.com.

Sausage, silverbeet, tomato and chilli pasta

Sausage, silverbeet, tomato and chilli pasta. Picture supplied
Sausage, silverbeet, tomato and chilli pasta. Picture supplied

Ingredients

  • 250g Barilla pasta - penne, rigatoni, farfalle work well
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion, finely diced
  • 3 pork and fennel sausages, meat squeezed from the skin
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp dried chili
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 x 400g tin crushed tomato
  • 4 large silverbeet leaves, thickly sliced
  • handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • parmesan or pecorino
  • Method

1. Bring a medium pan of lightly salted water to a simmer.

2. Place a medium frying pan over a medium/high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, sausage meat and cook for four minutes, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as you go so it resembles coarse mince.

3. Add the rosemary, chili, fennel seed and pinch of salt and continue to cook for one minute then add the white wine, let reduce for one minute then add the tinned tomato, 1/4 cup water and silverbeet leaves, stirring them through to wilt into the sauce. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

4. Meanwhile cook the pasta in the simmering water, following packet timings.

5. Add the drained, cooked pasta to the sausage ragu along with the parsley, season to taste and serve with a little parmesan or pecorino grated over.

Serves 2.

Pea, zucchini and ricotta pasta

Pea, zucchini and ricotta pasta. Picture supplied
Pea, zucchini and ricotta pasta. Picture supplied

Ingredients

  • 250g Barilla pasta - any will work
  • 1 cup peas, defrosted
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • handful basil and parsley leaves
  • 2 clove garlic
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into 5mm thin rounds
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • handful basil leaves
  • dried chili flakes
  • extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Method

1. For the pea ricotta sauce, combine the peas, ricotta, herbs, garlic, lemon zest, some salt, pepper and half a cup of water in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

2. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet timings. Reserve half a cup pasta water.

3. Place a large frying pan over a medium/high heat and add the olive oil and zucchini slices, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook the zucchini until lightly golden then flip and cook the other side. Add the onion to the pan and gently stir through the zucchini to soften, about two minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the pan along with the pea sauce, extra peas and a little pasta water if needed to loosen. Season to taste and serve with the basil leaves, chili flakes and the lemon cut into wedges for squeezing.

Serves 2.

Prawn, squid, tomato, chilli and lemon pasta

Prawn, squid, tomato, chilli and lemon pasta. Picture supplied
Prawn, squid, tomato, chilli and lemon pasta. Picture supplied

Ingredients

  • 250g Barilla pasta - any will work
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 eschallot, finely sliced
  • 1/2 small fennel, finely diced - reserve the green fonds
  • 2 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 6 raw prawns, peeled, veined, diced
  • 3 small squid tubes, sliced
  • 1 punnet Tiny Tom tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt
  • zest 1 lemon
  • handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • handful basil leaves

Method

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil and add the pasta to cook according to packet timings.

2. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil, eschallot, fennel, garlic, chili, lemon zest and thyme with a good pinch of salt. Cook this, stirring often, for three to four minutes then add the seafood and continue to cook for one minute before adding the white wine and cooking this out for another minute, stirring often.

3. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute. Drain the pasta, reserving some cooking water and add the pasta to the pan along with some chopped fennel fronds and the parsley.

4. Toss this over the heat to mix really well, adjusting the seasoning to taste and using some cooking water if needed to loosen. Serve with basil scattered and lemon wedges.

Serves 2.

Couri with baby beetroots, parmesan fondue and chives

Couri with baby beetroots, parmesan fondue and chives. Picture supplied
Couri with baby beetroots, parmesan fondue and chives. Picture supplied

Ingredients

  • 320g Cuori Barilla

For the Parmesan cream:

  • 150ml milk
  • 150ml cream
  • 300g parmesan cheese, grated
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons

For the pea sauce:

  • 200g fresh peas
  • 8 edible red flowers
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 30g butter
  • 20g extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Method

1. To prepare the Parmesan cream, mix the milk, cream, the grated Parmesan cheese and cook the mixture in a small pot at 100C, stirring for about 30-40 minutes. The cream should become a smooth and thick consistency.

2. Blanch the peas in abundant salted water for a few minutes, drain and cool down in iced water. Set aside a few tablespoons for garnish, and blend the remaining with olive oil, salt and a little vegetable stock. If you want an even smoother mixture, you can strain through a sieve.

3. Boil the pasta for half of the cooking time in salted water and for the remaining time in a pan with a base of butter, parmesan cream and vegetable stock. For the last few seconds, add lemon juice and toss together.

4. To plate up, spoon the pea sauce in the centre of the plate, add the pasta on top with lemon zest, edible flowers and fresh peas as a garnish.

Serves 2.

Karen Hardy

Karen Hardy

Canberra Times lifestyle reporter

I've covered a few things here at The Canberra Times over the years, from sport to education. But now I get to write about the fun stuff - where to eat, what to do, places to go, people to see. Let me know about your favourite things. Email: karen.hardy@canberratimes.com.au