My husband and I have never really made a big deal over Valentines Day. We love each other, but we would rather stay home and make our own gourmet dinner than go out and make a big cheesy fuss over it. He is a chef by trade and I spend my days making and taking pictures of food, so when it comes to having a romantic meal together simplicity and flavor are key. Pasta is pretty much my go-to special occasion dish, so this year I am going with a simple but elegant spicy penne paired with a ridiculously easy Blueberry Tres Leches tart cake. Is your mouth watering yet? Find out how to make both delicious recipes below!
I adore creating dishes from scratch but I don’t usually make my own pasta sauces. I could, but that would take a lot of time I don’t have so I start with a ready made base and build on that. For this recipe I used a tub of Buitoni marinara sauce that I picked up at Walmart and added a few subtle ingredients to make a deliciously spicy red sauce perfect for a love themed meal.
Spicy Basil Penne
- penne noodles
- tub of Buitoni marinara sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- dash of pepper
- fresh basil leaves
- shaved Romano or Asiago cheese
This recipe is very easy to make, it serves two and will take you around ten minutes from prep to plate.
1 – Cook your noodles to almost soft in a large pot.
2- While noodles are boiling, stir together marinara, red pepper flakes and black pepper in a medium sized bowl.
3 – Drain noodles, return to the pot. Toss in the sauce, heat on low for a few minutes and pour into a serving dish.
4 – Sprinkle on some fresh basil and shaved Romano cheese, serve and eat!
Wasn’t that super easy? I just love the simplicity of the sauce paired with the big flavors of red pepper and basil – it is rustic, hearty, and has just the right amount of spice!
Now that you have the main course out of the way, lets talk about dessert. I know I said we didn’t make a fuss over Valentine’s Day, but come on – ALLspecial occasions need dessert! I decided to be an awesome wife and put a spin on a Tres Leches cake that is popular in his own South American culture and surprise him with it. I know, super points for me, and one happy hubby!
A Tres Leches cake is traditionally a fairly involved recipe. Since I’m going for easy I was delighted when I found out that Nestle has a boxed kit available at Walmart so I hopped over and picked it up. *FYI – you will want to prepare this the night before your meal so it has time to soak up the milk*
Blueberry Topped Tres Leches Cake
- Tres Leches cake kit
- Canola oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 package blueberries
- whipped topping
First combine your cake mix, canola oil and eggs as instructed on the box and pour into a cake pan. I like to use a tart pan covered on the bottom with aluminum foil, but whatever you choose is fine.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. When it comes out it will be golden brown.
Let it cool, then poke the top with a toothpick or fork thoroughly. Mix up your milks, pour them evenly over the cake and refrigerate over night. Before serving, spread with a generous amount of whipped topping and cover generously with blueberries.
Oh my gosh, that looks AMAZING. And you know what? It tastes even better! The milks make it rich and moist, but the cake texture isn’t soggy at all. These two dishes are a match made in heaven, and guaranteed to make your Valentine’s dinner a meal to remember!