Love at First Bite: Romantic Recipes from Top Chefs

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5 min read

Feb 7, 2023

Love at First Bite: Romantic Recipes from Top Chefs

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning!

Whether you’re throwing a party with your best pals or making a romantic dish with your partner, food is always at the center of Valentine’s Day. We asked chefs from all over the world to share a recipe for a dish that makes them feel the love. 

The kind of love you feel when you take a bite of homemade pasta you haven’t had in months. The type of love you feel when you’re dancing in the kitchen with your partner, waiting for the garlic butter to melt on your prime cut of meat. The type of love you feel when you have been in the kitchen for what seems like days, and you set down the fresh bread in front of your friends and they all shout compliments and how you must make this more often. No matter what you make, these recipes are bound to make you feel the love!

Chef Ethan Stowell, CEO & Founder at Ethan Stowell Restaurants – “The King” Rigatoni with Italian Sausage

A staple on the Tavolàta menus, Chef Ethan’s Rigatoni is loved for a reason. It’s simple and delicious! 

Follow along with Chef Ethan on Instagram as he makes the dish! 

You can find the video here.

Overall Ingredients:

2 cups basic tomato sauce (recipe below)
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated


  1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, sauté the sausage in the olive oil until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and cook for about 8-10 minutes to blend the flavors.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  4. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, or until just al dente.
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain and tip into the pan with the sauce.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and toss
  7. Divide the pasta between four bowls and garnish to taste with Parmigiano-Reggiano
  8. Serve immediately.



2 (28-ounce) cans of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, depending on size
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Put the tomatoes in a deep bowl and crush them with your fingers.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic until tender but not browned, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and basil leaves.
  4. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes
  5. Season lightly with salt and pepper
  6. Use an immersion blender, if you have one, or pulse in a food processor to create a rough purée with some texture.
  7. The sauce keeps, covered in the fridge for up to 3 days, and freezes well.

Why Rigatoni?

“Lady and the Tramp may be the trailblazers for a romantic shared pasta dish but if you want something a bit spicier for your Valentine then you can’t go wrong with a shared bowl of our Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage.”

Interested in having Chef make the dish for you instead? Book a reservation for Tavolàta Belltown (Seattle), Capitol Hill (Seattle), Riverfront Park (Spokane) or Stone Way (Seattle).

Chef Scott Pickett, Head Chef & Director at Scott Pickett Group – Grandma Audrey’s Roasted Lamb

This is in memory of my grandmother, whose roast lamb was awesome. 

Serves 4


1 good quality lamb shoulder (bone-in)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots
2 brown onions
1 stick celery
Head of garlic
Large sprig rosemary
Large sprig of thyme
1 liter of chicken stock


6 large désirée potatoes
Lamb or beef dripping
Sprig each of thyme and rosemary
A few garlic cloves, unpeeled


  • 1 kg peeled pumpkin


If you don’t have dripping for the roast vegetables, use chicken or duck fat
Choose a good well-flavoured pumpkin like Jap or Jarrah
Brussels sprouts complete the vegetables


For the lamb –

  1. Trim any excess fat from the shoulder. Season it, and brown it quickly in a large pan. Place in a braising dish just big enough to hold it.
  2. Cut the carrots, onions and celery into a medium dice. Sauté in a little olive oil, then add to the lamb. Add enough chicken stock to nearly cover the lamb (about two-thirds). Cut the garlic in half, crossways, and add to the lamb. Add the herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, and cook for six hours at 120°C, until the meat is very tender and falling off the bone.
  3. Carefully remove the meat, then reduce the juices to a sauce-like consistency. Pour through a strainer and into a sauce boat to serve with the meat.

To roast potatoes. Audrey’s way –

  1. Peel them and cut them into large pieces. Boil in salted water for 10-15 minutes, then drain and leave in a colander to dry off.
  2. Heat the oven to 200°C. put the dripping in a large baking tray in the oven, and when it’s hot, carefully add the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, shake the pan well to coat the potatoes with dripping, and bake until golden and crisp (about 30 minutes). Shake the pan occasionally while the potatoes are cooking.

For the pumpkin –

  1. Cook in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, dairy. Allow to dry for 15 minutes, then cook as for the potatoes.

To serve –

  1. Spoon any fat from the sauce, and reheat. Reheat the lamb, if needed. Serve on a large platter, surrounded by the vegetables. Carve at the table, and pass the sauce.

Why Roasted Lamb?

Roast lamb, roast potatoes…that was my grandmother’s cooking and my first lasting recollection of food. My grandmother, Audrey, used to cook a Sunday roast, usually lamb. It was cooked for hours until it was falling apart and I remember fighting with my little brother over the crunchy shank-end. She roasted the potatoes the old way, boiling them first, dipping in flour then roasting in dripping – there was always a container of dripping in the refrigerator. For dessert it was usually rhubarb from her garden with no sugar, so it was really tart and it came with custard or ice-cream. Sunday roast was a real part of our lives. Grandmother Audrey Masterson is an important part of my story and so is my grandfather, Jack.”

Cooking lamb at home not your thing? Book a reservation to try Chef Scott’s restaurants here

James Coppe, Bartender at Anchovy Bandit – Dirty Martini


60ml Gin
20ml Dry Vermouth 
1 Dash of Orange Bitters
1 Lemon Peel and 3 Sicilian Olives


2 Martini Glasses (or fancy glasses of your choice)
1 Mixing Glass (if you don’t have one, a glass Pyrex measuring cup will do the trick!)
1 Cocktail Stirrer (or a long thing spoon)
1 Cocktail Jigger (or shot glass to eyeball it – a shot glass measures 60ml to the top)


  1. Place martini glasses in the fridge to chill (preferably done the night before for maximum chill).
  2. Add ice to your mixing glass (about half full).
  3. Measure out and pour the gin, vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass and stir for 10-15 seconds until it’s diluted slightly.
  4. Pour into a chilled glass
  5. Place the three olives into the glass
  6. Gently twist and fold the lemon peel over the top of the liquid, gently misting the martini with the oils from the lemon.
  7. Drink.


The proportions listed in the ingredients are for one Martini, double it to make one for you and your lover.
The key to a good Martini is keeping everything as chilled as possible.
As far as Gin goes – James recommends any London Dry as long as it’s been kept in the freezer.
Tanqueray or Hickson Road Australian Dry are his two picks.
James’ go-to vermouth is Noilly Prat, a classic French dry white vermouth that he recommends getting in a small bottle so it can all be used before it goes bad. This should be kept in it in the fridge after opening.

Why a Martini?

“I love this drink because the ingredients are very easy to keep on hand. With the gin being kept in the freezer, and everything else in the fridge it can be assembled in a matter of seconds. Not to mention the delicious elegance of a good martini is unbeatable, especially when shared with a loved one at home. This has become a ritual for me starting over the lockdowns. Sharing a martini and a movie with my mum, and now having a post-work martini with my partner Kate in our apartment. Gotta love the little snack of olives to finish as well.”

Don’t have any gin on hand? Head over to Anchovy Bandit and ask for one of James’ Dirty Martinis! Book here

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