Valentine’s Day Couples Dinner (Main Course)

This Dinner Party was honestly one of the best parties I have ever been to.  I’m not really a game person or someone who plans out conversations ahead of time.  If you invite me to your shower and expect me to play games I will do my best to hide or be the score keeper.  I’m a talker.  I like to hang out, be relaxed, and just chit chat.  BUT for this party I decided to ask each couple to tell the story of how they met or how they got engaged. 

Once we had sat down to dinner we went around the table telling these amazing stories.  We laughed so hard and teased each other at all the funny situations and coincidences that brought each couple to where they are now.  It was so much fun to hear these stories and since most of the couples didn’t know everyone it was a great way to learn about each other.

I also asked all of the couples to tell me what their wedding song was and to send me pictures of them together.  I put all the pictures on my Apple TV and had them rotating the entire evening.  I put all the wedding songs on my “love song” play list and as each wedding song played we talked about whose song it was.  Most of the couples had taken dancing lessons before their weddings and jumped up to try and see if they could remember the steps.   It was pretty funny to watch because Chris dipped Lecia and I was afraid for a second we were going to lose her!!

I bought Love fortune cookies and had little boxes of chocolates for everyone to take home.  For dessert I made mini red velvet cakes with pink buttercream icing that each couple had to share.  Overall the couples dinner party was a hit!  I can’t wait to do it again next year!

I also busted out my grandmother’s china for this party and it was beautiful!  I rarely get to use it so I thought this would be a great reason to warrant hand washing every dish!

For the main dish I made Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce.  I made the base tomato sauce the weekend before and froze it because I wanted to make it from scratch and I knew it would take forever!

You can obviously just buy your favorite jar of sauce and add in the cream, vodka and additional spices if you want to save about 4 hours of your life!  I wanted to make it from scratch but I will think twice before doing it again.

This is the only non blurry picture I have of the desserts.  Sorry it is dark and scary looking!  I had the mood lighting going and it is just to hard to change all my camera settings after a few glasses of wine!

This makes enough sauce for 6 people

Vodka Sauce:

50 Roma tomatoes

2 large heads of garlic

4 shallots

1 tbs red pepper flakes

3 tbs of chopped basil

1/2 cup dry red wine

4 tbs tomato paste

2 tbs worcestershire sauce

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

4 tbs vodka

1.5 cups of heavy cream

Asiago cheese for sprinkling

Slice the tomatoes in half, long ways, and scrape out the centers.  Place the tomatoes face up on a pan lined with aluminum foil.  Place the pan in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour and a half.  Turn up the heat to 375 for an additional 45 minutes. 

For the roasted garlic – slice the tips of the garlic cloves off and wrap the garlic in a foil packet.  Pour olive oil in the packet and place it in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking time on the tomatoes.

While the tomatoes are cooking slice and saute your shallots with a little bit of olive oil. 

Peel the skin off of all of the tomatoes and add the guts to a blender or food processor.  Add in the garlic cloves and puree everything together.  Pour mixture into a large pot and turn your heat to medium.  Add all of the ingredients except the cream and vodka.  Stir to combine and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.  At this point you can either freeze the sauce until you are ready to use it or you can finish the sauce. 

Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add in the vodka.  When the vodka is hot add in the tomato sauce and stir.  Slowly add in the cream and stir to combine.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes and server hot over pasta.  Sprinkle cheese as desired.  I like to put fresh basil on top as well.

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