Manda Cooks: Vally Day Dinner

FIRE Brett and I were both (separately) out of town this past weekend so our Valentine’s celebration happened in bits and pieces over a few days. I’m the queen of elongating holidays (my birthday lasts weeks), so this was fine by me. On Thursday we were “snowed in” – we made tortilla soup, and exchanged cards. Brett got me the sweetest Lenawald ring – it’s rose gold with tiny hearts, and I’m obsessed with it. I had big plans to get him a kitten, but we haven’t found one yet, so stay tuned. On Friday Brett sent a signing telegram to me at work, which was extremely embarrassing but surprisingly romantic ; ) The guy sang “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner and “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith… while about 20 coworkers watched. Those two songs are our favorite at-home karaoke songs (::cringe::), and now my whole office knows! Lovely. HEART I was lucky enough to have the day off yesterday and took advantage of the extra time on my hands to make a belated Valentine’s Day dinner, which we ate on the floor in front of the fireplace = picnic. We started off with two favorite cheeses (Cambozola Blue Cheese for Brett, and Manchego for me) and a heart-shaped display of fruits and veggies (probably my proudest achievement to date… I mean, look at it). Then I assembled butternut squash tortellini and cooked them with a quick brown butter and sage sauce. I’ve made the tortellini twice before and they are beyond good. They’re surprisingly easy to do, they just take time and patience. I also made roasted brussels sprouts with almonds and parmesan, and we kept the red wine flowing. Brett requested brownies for dessert and I happily gave in. TORT2 Butternut Squash Tortellini You need: 3 cups cubed butternut squash, 2 shallots (or 1 shallot and 1/2 onion), 1 cup whole milk ricotta, wonton wrappers Other ingredients: olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic Here’s what you do: Spread the squash on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir/toss to combine, then roast at 350F for about 20 minutes, until soft and just browned. Meanwhile, sautee shallots and 2 cloves of garlic over low heat for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Once both have cooled slightly, puree in food processor until smooth. Stir in ricotta. Lay a wonton wrapper flat and place 1/2 Tablespoon of filling in one corner. Bring together far corners and seal with water. Then pull outside corners in together and press together, sealing with water. Using a large pot, bring a few inches of water to boil. Add the tortellini a few at a time (don’t overcrowd), and cook until they float to the top. Use a slated spoon to transfer to a colander. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a pan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently. Once butter starts to brown, turn heat off and add sage leaves, salt and pepper. Once plated, pour over tortellini. TORT3 TORT4 TORT5 TORT1