FOX 5 Home Chef Valentine's Day Dinner Challenge

Chocolates might be the No. 1 gift on February 14, but everyone knows that dinner dates are a Valentine's Day necessity. But the cost of a romantic dinner with your significant other might turn your Valentine's Day love story into a nightmare.

Zagat reports that 53 percent of couples will be going out for a romantic meal. But the toughest part about this is that the average expected tab on Valentine's Day is a whopping $170.53. That price tag is a 16 percent hike from just five years ago and it is only going to get higher.

So why not make your sweetie a nice romantic dinner at home and throw that extra cash at something that will matter? FOX 5 called on all our home chefs to come up with a romantic entree that will knock our socks off.

For our competition, the cooks had to spend less than $50, have an easy recipe to follow and be prepared to go head-to-head with another pre-selected home chef while having their dish judged by FOX 5!

Here are their romantic recipes:

Marie-Claude Svaldi's Coquille Saint Jacques

A very fancy and sophisticated creation that is super easy to make. It is one of the world's most delicious dishes. It is rich, decadent and yet still light.


- 12 large oven-safe scallop shells
- 2 pounds of shrimp/scallops/clams
- 6 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese
- 6 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of mixed spices
- ½ a teaspoon of nutmeg
- 2 lemons
- ¼ cup of wine
- 1 quart of half & half/whole milk
- 5 tablespoons of flour
- 2 cups of sauteed mushrooms
- 1 cup of sauteed diced onions
- 1 bouquet of finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter


Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Broil: 3 to 5 minutes
Ready in 43 to 45 minutes

1. Prepare the base sauce by pouring the cream into a pot and adding the flour. Whisk at room temperature until combined. Then place on stovetop and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Add the slice of butter, salt, black pepper, spices, and a pinch of nutmeg. Once thickened, allow to rest.

2. Finely dice two big onions and saute with in a large skillet; then add your mushrooms and the ¼ cup of white wine and continue to stir.

3. Add onto the mix your marinated shrimp: (marinate in lemon juice, olive oil, and spices). Continue to stir until the shrimp is cooked just right. Don't over cook.

4. Pour the mix into the base bechamel sauce and stir for 2 minutes. Allow the mix to rest.

5. Finely chop your bouquet of parley. Add half of the chopped parsley into the mix and stir.
Let the whole mix rest and cool a little.

6. Using a scoop, pour the mix into the shells and garnish with, parmesan/mozzarella cheese, a heart-shaped shrimp and broil for 3 to 5 minutes for a simmer look

7. Before serving on a beg of greens, sprinkle cayenne pepper over your shrimp for the Valentine Effect and for the final touch, sprinkle some fresh green parsley!

Benjamin Davis: Pea, Lemon, Ricotta Ravioli - Saffron & Cream Sauce


- Pasta Dough
- 10 oz flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon salt

Mix flour salt and eggs (one at a time) in food processor until it resembles small peas. If too dry, add 1 tablespoon water (repeat if necessary) until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Kneed 1 to 2 min with flour until smooth, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Using pasta machine, roll dough until it has passed all the settings twice. Add filling in 1.5 t. mounds and fold dough over top using a egg wash to seal edges. Crimp ravioli using shot glass or pasta cutter.


- Shallot
- Garlic
- Tarragon
- Butter
- Salt
- Peas
- White Wine
- Ricotta
- Parmesan
- Lemon zest
- Egg yolk

Saute shallot, garlic and tarragon in butter until aromatics are translucent. Add salt to taste. Add frozen peas and cook until thawed. Add wine and cook until evaporated. Chill. Mix Ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, pea mixture, egg yolks and lemon zest salt to taste.


- Butter
- Cream
- Saffron

Melt butter add cream and saffron and reduce at low heat letting saffron steep. Salt to taste.

Cook pasta in salted water at a rolling boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add to sauce pan with heated sauce, toss to coat. Plate with fresh grated parmesan cheese.