Dinner & A Movie: Valentine’s Day Edition

Okay, gents. Today is Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have any other plans for your special lady this evening, I’m here to rescue you. Being a movie buff and wannabe chef, I recommend dinner and a movie at home. It sure beats a three-hour wait at an average restaurant.

This is one of my favorite pasta standbys, taken from a cookbook on my shelf – In the Kitchen with Rosie by Rosie Daley. It is great prepared straight from the book and very versatile as far as tweaking it to what you like. Personally, I like to add a lot more garlic and basil, and then top it off with grilled shrimp or grilled chicken.

As for a wine recommendation to pair with this dish, I give you the first and most important rule: drink what you like. That carries more weight than any recommendations you receive about pairing wine with food. With that said, consider a Sauvignon Blanc. I prefer a recent find that was in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Values, the Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

Viola’s Shrimp Pasta  |  Yields: 4 servings  |  Total Prep & Cook Time: 30 to 40 minutes


1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup chopped tomato (1 medium tomato)
4 ounces dried spinach angel hair pasta
4 ounces dried semolina angel hair pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and maintain at a boil. Put the olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan and cook over medium heat, just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove the sauté pan from the heat and pour in the wine. Return it to the heat. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the wine has been reduced by half. Stir in the lemon juice and tomato. Remove the pan from the heat.

Place the pasta in the boiling water and cook to desired doneness, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain the pasta and put it into a warm serving bowl. Add the basil, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper, along with the tomato mixture. Toss and plate with grilled shrimp (optional) on top and serve immediately.

Being V-Day, you might score some points with your lady for suggesting some sort of love story, but it doesn’t have to be the cliché romantic comedies associated with Valentine’s Day. My selection: Shakespeare in Love (1998).

It’s a very smart, well-written story that has a little of everything and something for everybody. This film won Best Picture in ’98 and also got Gwyneth Paltrow an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Alongside Gwyneth, Shakespeare in Love stars Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth and supporting actress Oscar winner Judi Dench.

Now you are all set for dinner and a movie. Remember to bring flowers too and you will come out smelling like a rose! Salute! — Jim

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