Posted by / Friday, February 8, 2013

Easy Valentine's Day Pasta Dinner Recipe

I wrote this post for the guy or gal who might want to venture in the kitchen and make a Valentine dinner but wanted something easy, good, romantic, and did I say easy? The sauce is the time consuming piece, but if you make the sauce on Sunday, it's like heating leftovers the night of the big dinner. This recipe will make enough sauce to freeze or use in other dishes too!

The only special kitchen accessory needed might be the food processor, but I will assume most people have those. 

Ready? Let's make a Valentine's dinner to be remembered.

  • 1 pound hot italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
We are putting the vegetables in a food processor so you do not have to be precise when cutting these up — just small enough to get in the processor:
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic
All of the above vegetables should be pulsed in a food processor until finely chopped. See picture above with chopped veggies in the bowl for reference.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup of chicken broth or turkey broth
  • 1/2 cup of red or white wine
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 12 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 box of whole wheat penne pasta
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated for garnishing
  • More fresh parsley, chopped for garnishing

Remove the casing from the sausage and discard. Heat the oil until shimmering in a pan add the italian sausage first, breaking it up with a fork as it cooks and crumbles. Add the pork and cook until done. Pork will not brown like hamburger so when it starts to crumble, it is done. Remove and reserve in a bowl.

Add the vegetables to the pan, stirring and coating with the grease from the meat.

Once the vegetables are soft, add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the broth,white wine, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes and continue simmering for 10 minutes, then return the meat to the sauce and stir.

Add 1 cup of water and allow the sauce to slowly simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remember, this prep work can all be done Sunday. Once finished, remove sauce, allow to cool and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Cook the pasta according to the directions (reserving some of the pasta liquid) and heat the sauce in a pan. Once the sauce is heated add the cooked noodles to the pan, adding a little of the cooking liquid from the noodles. Toss to coat evenly. You want to go light on the sauce enough to coat the noodles but not drown them.

Finish with fresh parmesan and chopped parsley.

Serve your pasta with a side salad, fresh bread, and a glass of wine. Again, the prep is in the sauce — dinner on Valentine's Day will take less than 30 minutes!

I certainly enjoy eating out but this day is not one of them! What are you doing?

E.A.T. local E.A.T. well


  1. This looks amazing. I must make this as soon as possible!

    1. Can't wait to hear how it turns out! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I made this last night and it turned out GREAT. Really tasty and simple to make. Thanks for sharing, love the site!

  3. I found your blog recently and have been browsing your recipes, as well as looking at other things over at 17 Apart. I have to say that I really enjoy your real, down-to-earth blogging style--it makes for an enjoyable read and your recipes and home projects are things I can see myself actually doing :)

    I made the sauce last night--it looks absolutely delicious and I can't wait for my boyfriend to try it tonight for Valentine's Day dinner! Thank you so much and I'm glad to have found your guys' blogs!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words! Hope the sauce was a hit and happy Valentine's Day!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.


"Some people eat to live; I live to eat." -Tim Vidra

An avid home cook, I believe in using simple ingredients, local when possible and am inspired by the principles of supporting a sustainable food system. I’ve cultivated this blog as a way to share my passion for the preparation and enjoyment of food in a way that everyone from beginners to long time foodies can get involved in.



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