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Romantic Dinner Recipes

Forget the reservation this year. The Barefoot Contessa shows you how to pull off the perfect dinner for two

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Truffled Mashed Potatoes

Serves 8

  • 2½ pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1½ cups half-and-half
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces white truffle butter, at room temperature (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Place them into a large, deep saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender. Drain; return the potatoes to the saucepan.

2. Meanwhile, heat the half-and-half and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Take the pan off the heat, then add the truffle butter and allow it to melt. If the butter doesn't melt completely, heat the mixture until butter is melted.

3. Using a hand mixer, beat the hot potatoes in the pot until they are broken up. Slowly add in most of the hot truffle cream, the Parmesan, 2½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and beat until the potatoes are thick and smooth. (You may have some truffle cream left over; reserve it for reheating.)

4. To keep the potatoes hot or to reheat them, place them in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat slowly, adding more truffle cream if the potatoes get too thick. Season to taste and serve hot.

Note: I buy truffle butter online at D'Artagnan ( and Urbani Truffles (

Nutrients per serving: 305 calories, 6g protein, 28g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 19g fat (12g saturated fat), 53mg cholesterol, 818mg sodium

Zucchini Gratin

Serves 8

  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
  • 1 pound (about 3 large) yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
  • 2 pounds zucchini (about 4), sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup grated Gruyère

1. Preheat the oven to 400 ° F.

2. Melt the butter in a 12-inch sauté pan, and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until tender. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8- by 10-inch baking dish.

3. Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyère and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Nutrients per serving: 231 calories, 7g protein, 18g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 16g fat (9g saturated fat), 41mg cholesterol, 532mg sodium

Next page: Mocha-chocolate icebox cake. »

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Video Extra

SKIP THE CROWD: AARP food expert Pam Anderson suggests skipping crowded restaurants this Valentine's Day and enjoying romance and simplicity at home. Try her three-course menu of salmon rollups, crab and spinach crepes, and crepes with strawberries and cream.


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