Valentine’s Day Recipes: Chopped’s Scott Conant Shares 3 Dishes to Set the Mood

By: Jacqui Denker | Kristina Guerrero Posted: 9:30 AM, Feb 12, 2019 Updated: 11:13 AM, Feb 13, 2019

Love is in the air – and in the kitchen! We spoke with celeb chef Scott Conant, judge of Food Network’s Chopped, at Mora Italian who showed us a few Valentine’s Day recipes to set the mood this February 14.


1. Foccacia di Recco


Let’s start our list of Valentine’s Day recipes with the Foccacia di Recco.


Foccacia di Recco Ingredients


1C. warm water

1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil

1t. Salt

3C. ‘00’ flour


Foccacia di Recco Directions


Combine liquids in an electric/stand-up mixer bowl.


Add the dry ingredients to the wet and allow to mix on medium speed 6-8 minutes.


Allow the dough to rest covered for at least 2 hours.


Portion the dough into 195 grams or about 1.5 cups by volume.


Recco Cheese Ingredients


2cups. Strachinno cheese

1C. Del pastaio ricotta (or another dry ricotta may be substituted)

1 pinch Kosher Salt


Recco Cheese Directions


Place both cheeses in large stand mixer and whip until cheeses are combined thoroughly.


Transfer cheese into a piping bag for easy portioning.


To Serve


As needed Extra Virgin Olive Oil


As needed Kosher Salt


Roll and stretch one dough ball as thinly a possible, and place over a round pizza pan. Ensure that there is at least one inch or so in excess of dough hanging over the side of pan.


Using the piping bag, pipe dots of the recco cheese at random over top of the dough on the pizza pan.

Repeat the process with another dough ball and stretch over the pizza pan again making an almost “quesadilla” like product.


With the tip of a knife poke multiple holes in the now cheese stuffed dough.

Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.


Place the pizza pan/focaccia di recco in a preheated oven at 550 degrees Fahrenheit (if you have a pizza oven that is ideal, or if your oven can get hotter turn it up as high as possible) for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.


Serve immediately.


2. Roasted Chicken Polenta


Our next hearty dish is roasted chicken with polenta. This is one of those Valentine’s Day recipes that are sure to please!


Polenta Ingredients


1 quart whole milk

1 quart heavy cream

1 Tbsp kosher salt

2 cups polenta

3 cups parmesan cheese, finely grated

¼ lb unsalted butter


Polenta Directions


In a heavy bottom sauce pan, combine salt, cream and milk.


Slowly heat the mixture and bring to a boil. Making sure to whisk often so the milk doesn’t burn.


Slowly whisk in the polenta, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk for a few minutes.


Move mixture to a low temperature spot and continue cooking for three hours. Stir occasionally so the mixture does not burn.


Add cheese and butter, whisk to incorporate it into the mixture.


Keep warm until ready to serve.


Roasted Mushrooms with Truffle and Bacon Ingredients


1 cup mixed wild mushrooms

2 sprigs thyme picked

1 cup bacon, largely diced

2tsp truffle puree or canned truffle pieces (available at most stores)

2cups roasted chicken stock

as needed salt, kosher


Roasted Mushrooms with Truffle and Bacon Directions


In large heavy bottomed sauté pan or skillet add the bacon and allow it to render all its fat until crispy but not burnt.


Add the mixed mushrooms (don’t worry the mushrooms will absorb the bacon drippings), picked thyme and lightly brown.


Add the roasted chicken stock to the same pan and reduce the liquid by half.

Finish with the truffle puree or pieces at the very end.


Season with salt as needed


Depending on the bacon used you may need very little or no salt.


To Serve


The mushrooms, truffle and bacon may be served directly over the polenta as is or accompanied by a roasted chicken and used as a sauce with the polenta being the base or starch for the dish.


3. Salted Carmel Budino


We’re rounding our our list of Valentine’s Day recipes with a Salted Carmel Budino.


Budino Ingredients


4 each large egg yolks

1.5 cups plus 2 Tbsp heavy cream

1.5 cups plus 2 Tbsp whole milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 each vanilla bean, split/scraped (reserve all)

4 oz unsalted butter


Budino Directions


In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, the 2 tablespoons cream, the 2 tablespoons milk, and the cornstarch.


In a medium saucepan, combine 1.5 cups of cream, 1.5 cups of milk, a 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and the salt.


Add the vanilla and the pod, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.


In another medium saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar and the butter and cook over medium low, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the butter is melted, the sugar dissolved, and the mixture smells nutty, about 5 minutes.


Slowly stir in the warm cream mixture (be careful as it will bubble and spatter) until well incorporated.

Whisk a small ladleful of the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture a little at a time as this will temper the eggs and prevent scrambling.


Slowly mix the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan stirring constantly, until a thick custard forms.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large heatproof measuring cup or bowl.


Cool quickly by nestling the measuring cup or bowl on another bowl of ice and stirring the custard occasionally, you want it to thick but still be able liquid enough to fill your desired serving vessel.


Divide the custard among 6 or 8 serving dishes (we use plain juice glasses), filling them no more than three-quarters full.


Cover with plastic wrap, pressing on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.


Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients


(Makes about 1 cup)


[3/4] cup heavy cream

1[1/2] tsp kosher salt

[1/2] vanilla bean, split/scraped (reserved all)

4 oz unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup sugar


Salted Caramel Sauce Directions


In a small saucepan, combine the cream, salt and vanilla with the pod, bring the mixture to a simmer. Set aside.


Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan, and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the butter and sugar have melted are a deep amber color. This may look a little strange like wet sand at first. Once the sugar melts, and the moisture from the butter evaporates, the mixture should become thin and glossy.


Carefully add the hot cream mixture to the sugar/butter, it will bubble somewhat violently at first but will settle down.


Stir well to combine then strain though a fine mesh strainer.


The sauce will keep covered and refrigerated for at least 1 week. Reheat it gently before using.


Gianduja Crumble Ingredients


(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

3 oz milk chocolate, cut into pieces

3 oz hazelnut praline paste

3 oz feuilletine (may substitute ground cornflakes cereal)


Gianduja Crumble Directions


Line a sided baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.


In a double boiler or a bowl set over (but not touching) a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and praline paste together, stirring occasionally.


With a heatproof rubber spatula, fold in the feuilletine, then spread the mixture out on the baking sheet and freeze until hard.


Break into pieces by hand or in a food processor for a more finely ground product.


Whipped Cream Ingredients


[1/2] cup heavy cream

1 tsp confectioners’ sugar

[1/4] tsp vanilla extract


Whipped Cream Directions


In a medium bowl, combine the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla and whisk to medium peaks. This can be done by hand or in an electric mixer.


To Serve


Top each individual cup of the budino with 2 tablespoons of the softened caramel (room temperature).


Add a spoonful of the freshly whipped vanilla cream on top of the caramel, then sprinkle with the gianduja crumble.


Finally garnish with a light sprinkle of high quality/flaky salt (Maldon brand works great and is available at most grocery stores).


Hungry yet?! Now you’ve got three Valentine’s Day recipes to cook up some love with your boo.


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