It’s a dinner for two Valentine’s Day special #SundaySupper this week! I am so thrilled to be hosting because I have been cooking for two people for almost 10 years now and sometimes I still have difficulty making just the right amount.
Sure there are the meals that you want to have leftovers because you know it will make an awesome lunch the next day or perhaps it’s just you for dinner one night later in the week and you won’t need to cook. However other nights, maybe that meal was just not meant to be reheated.
Gee talking about reheating leftovers. So romantic right? Let’s talk about more romantic things shall we?
Are you a cook at home or go out to eat on Valentine’s Day person? For the first few years of dating Braden and I would go out. I suppose we just figured that’s what you’re supposed to do. These days, not that we are old and cranky and can’t stand crowded loud restaurants we prefer a quiet night in. What’s on the menu gets to be decided by us instead of forced into a three course, over-priced meal.
Pasta usually isn’t on the menu, it’s a nice steak dinner but I couldn’t resist recreating this dish we had on New Years Day at a local family run Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. This was the baked ziti I’ve been waiting for my entire life. Topped with creamy fontina cheese instead of loaded down with heavy meats, sauce and ricotta.
So while it might not seem like your first inclination to make pasta for Valentine’s Day, I say go for it. Enjoy this lighter take on baked ziti with a glass of red wine and pretend Italy is outside your. Seriously what can get more romantic than that? Perhaps toss a little Dean Martin on in the background and don’t forget to save room for dessert. Because seriously wait until you see the list of desserts on our recipes built for two from all the #SundaySupper contributors!
- 1 1/4 cups dried penne pasta
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 3 links sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes (reserve extra from the can for another use)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (only if using sweet sausage)
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the penne 9 minutes or until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of oil and saute the onions until translucent and soft. About 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Remove the sausage from the casing and break into small pieces in the skillet with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink through, continuing to break into small pieces as it cooks.
- Once the sausage is completely cooked through, stir in the tomato sauce, salt and red pepper flakes (only if using sweet sausage).
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove from the heat and stir in the oregano.
- Stir in the cooked penne and toss to combine evenly.
- In two oven safe serving bowls, divide the pasta and sausage mixture. Top with fontina and place in a 400 degree heated oven.
- Bake for 5 minutes or until the fontina is completely melted.
- Remove, let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Now let’s see more Valentine’s Day recipes for two ideas from our #SundaySupper contributors!
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Ricotta from Casa de Crews
- Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade from Shockingly Delicious
- Southwestern Meatballs wrapped in Bacon from Momma’s Meals
- Almond-Crusted Sole with Mushroom Pilaf for Two from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Bacon Crusted Beer Mac and Cheese from Melanie Makes
- Baked Crab Cakes with Lemongrass-Ginger Mayo from The Weekend Gourmet
- Baked Pasta with Sausage and Fontina from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Baked Tilapia En Papillote from It’s Yummi!
- Chicken and Mushroom Alfredo from Cookin’ Mimi
- Drunken Snow Crabs from Family Foodie
- Eggs in Purgatory from Noshing with the Nolands
- Flambéed Veal Chops from MealDiva
- Homemade Philly Cheesesteak Stromboli from In The Kitchen With KP
- Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce Prawns with Linguine from Food Lust People Love
- Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon-Basil Beurre Blanc, Pancetta, Apples and Fennel from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Pan-Seared Scallops with Linguine and Tomato-Cream Sauce from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Roasted Vegetable Lasagna for Two from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- Salmon Pakoras from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Swiss Fondue for Two from Curious Cuisiniere
- White Queso Mac and Cheese for Two from Daily Dish Recipes
Decadent Desserts and Drinks:
- Baked Custard from Magnolia Days
- Cherry Spritzer Ice Cream Float from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Chocolate Budino with Strawberry Hearts from Manu’s Menu
- Chocolate Malt Bread Pudding from Alida’s Kitchen
- Chocolate Marshmallow Duets from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chocolate Pots de Crème from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Fresh Berry Parfait with Crème Anglaise from Hip Foodie Mom
- Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Sauce from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Funfetti Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle from Take a Bite Out of Boca
- German Rose Water Sugar Cookies For Two from Killer Bunnies, Inc.
- Gluten Free Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles from Gluten Free Crumbley
- Gluten-Free Deep Dish Hot Fudge Brownies for Two from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Ice Cream Stuffed Crepes with Nutella and Fresh Berries from Neighborfood
- Malawian Mbatata Cookies with Coconut Cream from Happy Baking Days
- Orange-scented Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce for Two from girlichef
- Pecan-Crusted Coconut Custards with Brandied Banana Sauce from The Texan New Yorker
- Pistachio Pudding For Two (From Scratch) from Chocolate Moosey
- 3 Japanese-Style Treats for Your Sweet from Ninja Baking
- Valentine’s Cupcakes with a Surprise from From the Bookshelf
- White Hot Chocolate from Pies and Plots
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I like how you think and cook, Susan! And am surprised and grateful you referred to the great Dean Martin…But then of course, you are an expert in all things classic – like this fantabulous penne pasta with fontina cheese!
Looks delicious – Pinning!
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I am all over this pasta! Thanks so much for hosting and for sharing a perfect pasta recipe for two.
With my emptying nest, I still make pasta to feed an army. Your recipe is more what I should be making…plus it looks delish!!! Thanks for hosting, my friend!!!
Susan! I love this pasta! and pasta is what we usually make for VDay anyway. . we usually stay in, like you said avoid the crowds and save some money but this year, ironically, we are going out with a group of people. . to try a new restaurant. anyway, love love love this pasta and can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks for hosting today!!
Staying in sounds much more romantic than dealing with loud nosy restaurants and reservations. And a cheesy pasta dish is just the perfect meal!
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I love this dish! I love that it is portioned, and looks better than going out for Valentine’s Day.
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Perfect portion, perfect pasta!
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I can honestly say nothing is more romantic then a big bowl of pasta and yours looks just amazing!!
Sausage and fontina combined with pasta– I’m sold! What a GREAT dish! 🙂 I love your pictures 2!
This looks delicious. Thanks for hosting this week’s Sunday Supper!
Pasta that beautiful is the perfect Valentine’s Dish! I am pinning this to make – just gorgeous. I love your individual little pans as well! Thank you for hosting 🙂
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I would totally make pasta for Valentine’s Day! Thanks for hosting this week. It’s such a fun theme! Honestly, we usually don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day itself. We usually wait till the following weekend and then go out for brunch. Cheaper, less crowded, aaaaaand brunch is awesome. 🙂 This year I may have to make something a little fancier for Valentine’s Day at home. I think the Mr. and I would both love this!
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Love pasta for V-Day!! Yours looks so scrumptious and a perfect meal for two!!
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I wouldn’t have thought to prepare pasta for Valentine’s. It looks delicious.
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I love that it is a lot lighter than baked ziti. You don’t want a brick sitting in your stomach on a special occasion!
Look at that cheese! This looks divine!
I love Pasta! We go the Italian route a lot for Valentine’s Day! I think the Fontina cheese really completes this, thanks so much for sharing and hosting this wonderful event!
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With all of the snow and cold my soul is craving bake pasta just about every night. This looks amazing. I love love love fontina.
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Seriously, this sounds so delicious, I might just be adding it to our weeknight menu soon. Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe, and especially for hosting this AWESOME event! Have a wonderful, YUMMY VDay with your sweetie! HUGS
Your pasta dish would taste so good right now! thanks for hosting, Susan! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Branden!
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Oh Susan! You are speaking Italian to my very Italian heart! LOL I often make baked pasta and I LOVE Fontina and sausage together, I think they make a great combo! Brava!!!
Oh man I can’t remember the last time I had baked ziti. I need to add this recipe to my everyday menu.
I’m not sure that there’s an appropriate description that will accurately describe the levels of yum in this recipe. I just need to clean the drool from my chin now 😉
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This recipe is very similar to one that I use as my go to stress-free meal. We love sausage and pasta together, my toddler’s favourite things. 🙂
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We are staying in also, because who wants to pay a ridiculous price for a meal where you can’t even choose your own entree! And actually we are huge pasta fans, so I could see this going over really well on V-Day!
Give me a fork!
This dish is downright sexy, Susan. Carbs, sausage and melted, ooey gooey cheese?! Yes please!
Thank you so much for hosting a wonderful Sunday Supper this week! I love this pasta, this is my kind of comfy cozy meal for two!
Who doesn’t love a little red vino, pasta, and Dino for Valentine’s Day! All things about that scream romance. I suck at cooking for two. I always end up with a ton of leftovers. And since I have food ADD I hate eating leftovers so this recipe will for sure help me on that front!
Totally and completely my idea of YUM! I love the melted Fontina!
I’m old and cranky, too. Forget the crowds, I want a dinner for two with this pasta on the menu. Yum!
I love when pasta isn’t overloaded with sauce. This looks perfect to me!
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I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Fontina is one of my favorite cheeses. Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks Coleen! So glad you made it and enjoyed the recipe last night! 🙂