Cooking For Two: Dinner Recipes For Date Night

Cooking For Two

Couples cooking is not a chore with recipes that delegate who does what.

Who doesn’t fantasize about having a personal chef? Cooking often seems like just another chore, especially when the burden falls more on one partner. But what if making a meal were a way to get you talking, laughing, and enjoying each other after a grueling day?

It can happen—if you divvy up the labor. To take the guesswork out of job-sharing, we’ve divided the kitchen into domains and designed this menu for two chefs: one on prep, and one at the stove. Our plan is easy, equitable, and set up for sharing the kitchen seamlessly, with no squabbling.

As for dish duty, you’re on your own.

[STOVE COOK puts on a large pot of salted water to boil, pours wine, and sets the table, while PREP COOK starts the ragout.]

Spring-Vegetable Ragout on Papardelle with Mint Pesto
1/2 lemon
10 baby artichokes
1 shallot
1/4 pound young carrots (about 3 or 4), well scrubbed
1/4 pound fresh morel mushrooms, cleaned
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 pound papardelle or fettucine

1. Fill a medium bowl with very cold water and the juice of half a lemon. Cut the top third, stems, and any tough bits off each artichoke. Snap off all but the innermost yellow-green leaves and slice artichokes in half. Scoop out any fuzzy purple choke. Immediately put the cleaned artichoke in water.

2. Mince the shallot. Slice the carrots on the diagonal into bite-size pieces. Snip off the morel stems and slice the caps.

[PREP COOK passes the ragout to STOVE COOK and starts making Mint Pesto (see recipe)while STOVE COOK takes over the ragout at Step 3.]

3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet or shallow pan with a lid. Sauté the shallot over medium-low heat just until translucent (not brown). Add the artichokes and carrots and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes. Cover and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes (stir occasionally so nothing sticks).

4. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir and continue to cook, covered, until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook uncovered 2 more minutes.

[STOVE COOK moves on to Seared Lamb while PREP COOK takes over the pasta at Step 5.]

5. Cook pasta until al dente (approx. 5 minutes). Drain the cooked pasta and toss it with the Ragout and Mint Pesto to taste. (Any extra pesto can be stored in a jar, refrigerated, for a week.) Keep the pasta warm in a covered pan on the stove until ready to serve.

Mint Pesto
1 1/2 cups mint leaves (washed and spun dry)
1/2 cup basil leaves (washed and spun dry)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping

In a blender or food processor, puree the mint, basil, and garlic cloves while slowly pouring in the olive oil. Stop and scrape the bowl, then add the cheese and puree until smooth.

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