Date Night on a Work Night

20151129_161919Life is hectic these days between work, work, studying, still unpacking (because I’m editing things out, okay!?) and slowly dipping my toes back into the dating world. While I’m not exactly a serial dater, I have gone on a few dates of late, one of which was a date night hosted at my place. I’d love to have leisurely weekend dates, but when you also work on the weekend it can be tough, and dates get moved to work nights.

This is NOT an affordable meal post. It’s just not. While I scored these steaks for a ridiculously good price (note- because of this I put the market price in the costing for this), any time your meat alone costs 3 times what some of my meals cost in total, it’s just not affordable in my books, regardless of how wicked the sale was. It was a super delicious, decadent, fun meal to share with my date though.

A lot of people consider risotto to be a difficult meal, but I’m not amongst them. The most difficult part is being patient while it cooks in my book since you mostly just stare at it until it is ready, but getting the steaks prepped helps take the edge off to me. Or it was the fact that I had someone to talk to while I did it. While this particular date ended up not being a winner, this meal certainly was. This is another Sorrentino’s cooking class gem that I’ve changed up a bit on my own. If you ever want to learn a new skill in the kitchen, I really recommend checking out one of their classes here. And if you’re really flush, hit up one of their restaurants- actually even if you’re not flush, their happy hour is bar none.

Mushroom Risotto with Herb Butter Basted Filet Mignon

1/2 a white onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely minced

~10 cremini or button mushrooms, chopped small

1 portobello mushroom, chopped small

Fresh thyme

3 crushed tomatoes

1/3 cup red wine (cabernet sauvignon is usually a nice complement)

1-2 containers of mushroom stock

2-3 tablespoons of salted butter

2 cuts of filet mignon

1 cup of arborio rice


Step One: (the night before) Go on ahead and chop up all of your mushrooms and pop them in a plastic container, and then in a separate container chop your onion and garlic up, then take a ton of thyme leaves and put them in there as well. Pop those babies in the refrigerator, you’ll be thanking yourself tomorrow.


Step 2: (the day of) get your mise en place in gear- pull out your containers from the fridge, open a can of tomatoes and take about 1/3(and crush them), pour your wine in a measuring cup, get your arborio rice in a measuring cup etc… get everything out and on the counter because you’re going to be stirring and babysitting steaks.


Step 3: Put your pan on medium, put in some olive oil and once it feels warm, dump in your onions and garlic and get them softening, stirring occasionally. At every step from this point forward, add a bit of black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Step Four: Once your onions and garlic are well softened, dump your arborio rice in the pan and stir it around. I’ve talked about this process of “toasting” your rice before, and I maintain it is pretty dang important. Make sure you still have a decent amount of olive oil and let it toast away (center white, edges translucent), and once it hits that place, deglaze your pan with the red wine.


Step Five: Let the red wine cook down, and then add your first shot of mushroom stock. Once you add that, dump in your mushrooms. They need a bit of time to cook. Don’t forget what I said in step three about seasoning every step.


Step 6: Continue the process of adding stock, cooking it down, and then adding more stock, stirring and seasoning along the way. After about your second addition of stock, add in your tomatoes. If you have a spare fresh tomato kicking around, dice it and throw it in too. You won’t miss it too much if you don’t, though.


Step 8: Pull your steaks out of the fridge to let them come to room temperature. Season liberally with salt and pepper. On a separate plate or in a bowl, take 1-2 tablespoons of softened butter and a generous amount of thyme leaves and mix up your herb butter. Set aside. I recommend having your steaks come up to temp for about 15 minutes, which is straight from my mama, who we all know is the real authority. Once those 15 minutes are up, heat a pan up to medium-high and put your steaks on and revel in the sizzle.


Step 9: Your risotto has got to be getting close by now. Take a tiny spoonful of a few grains and test the doneness of your rice. If it still feels crisp on the teeth or sticks to your teeth when you bite on it, add more stock and look after your steaks. Once you feel your steaks are good and seared, flip them and add half of the herb butter to each steak. If you want to be fancy, save a little dollop for each steak for serving. Or don’t, you do you.

Step 10: Your risotto should be done around the time of your steaks if we did this right. You want to pull your steaks off the pan at medium rare (make a loose fist and touch the fleshy part between your thumb and forefinger. Now touch your steak. Should feel about the same), and let them sit on their serving plates for about 5 minutes to rest. This gives you time to finish your risotto with a pat of butter and 3 tablespoons of parmesan (reggiano) cheese.


Now, go wow your date with this totally gourmet meal.


What’s your favorite date night treat? Let me know in the comment section below!

3 thoughts on “Date Night on a Work Night

  1. Pingback: Saving Fresh Herbs
  2. Pingback: No-Buy Update

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