Cook as if You’re in a Rom-Com

March 6, 2024

Now is the time to trot out special-occasion classics like rib-eye steak, rosemary rack of lamb and — spoons ready — vanilla crème brûlée.

An overhead image of four ramekins filled with creme brulee. One creme brulee’s surface is cracked open with a spoonful removed. The filled spoon sits on the marble surface to the right of the dish.
Craig Lee for The New York Times

It’s the third act. After an adorable meet-cute and some bumbling mishaps, our romantic leads — you and your valentine — have finally found each other. The lighting is warm, the wine is open and Aaron Neville’s “” is playing softly in the background. It’s time for dinner.

calls for rom-com cooking, and we have lots of recipes that feel positively cinematic, the sort of special-occasion dishes that encourage suspension of disbelief and let you gleefully ignore the fact that it’s the middle of the week and the laundry is still sitting in the dryer. First up: . You won’t need a kitchen blowtorch for this five-star Mark Bittman recipe; instead you’ll use your oven’s broiler to achieve that distinctive crackly sugar crust. (Though if you do use a small propane torch, please be sure to wink at your valentine when it ignites.)

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If you’re aiming for a “” moment, here’s Ali Slagle’s recipe for . Ali’s foolproof recipe has you flipping your steak often to ensure evenly cooked meat with an impressive browned crust. Shallots, thyme or rosemary infuse the pan sauce, though a good smear of would also be welcome (on both the steak and the side of boiled spaghetti Loretta serves in the film).

A great risotto — like Martha Rose Shulman’s — requires a bit of babying to get it to that luscious, creamy consistency. Good thing, then, that there are two of you to take turns stirring this elegant vegetarian dish.

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