Valentine’s Cooking Class is in Session

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

If you know me or follow this blog at all, you know about my great passion for cooking and food. Something you might not know about me though is, that I’m also extremely passionate about sharing my cooking knowledge with others; so they can cook nutritious and delicious foods for their loved ones. As a cooking instructor, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing and seeing the evidence that you’ve made an impact on someone’s life or multiple lives. Last week I taught a class that is the perfect set of recipes for you to make for your loved one for Valentine’s Day. The best part is that a lot of it can be made ahead! The ravioli (once cooked) is perfectly layered with the cooked pear and fennel and garnished with the arugula and balsamic glaze which is perfect as the first course. Follow that with the Filet in a Rosemary and Fennel Red Wine Sauce and the Chili-Garlic Roasted Broccoli and you have the perfect Valentine’s Dinner.  Below are the cooking class recipes!

Roasted Pears

Yield: 4 side dish servings


4 semi-ripe Bosc pears

1/3 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup of dry white wine like Riesling

1 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

Pinch sea salt


Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Quarter and core the pears, then dust the cut sides of pears with powdered sugar. Melt butter in an oven-safe Dutch oven over moderately high heat. When the butter is melted, add pears, cut side down, to the butter and cook. Move the pears around so the cut sides become caramelized and browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Flip pears so that they are skin side up. Pour in the wine and drop in the star anise, cinnamon stick, and a small pinch of salt. Place the pan, uncovered into oven and roast until the pears are tender and the wine has reduced into a thin syrup, 15 to 20 minutes.

Balsamic Honey Glaze

Yield: 1 cup


2 1/4 cups balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon honey (optional)

Pinch of coarse salt


Bring vinegar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan; reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened and syrupy; about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in honey (if desired) and salt. Let cool completely before serving (glaze will thicken slightly as it cools).

Cook's Notes:

Glaze can be refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

Goat Cheese Ravioli


3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons sliced basil leaves

2 tablespoons finely chopped baby spinach leaves

8 ounces soft goat cheese

1 package wonton wrappers

1 bag of arugula


In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the basil and spinach and cook just until wilted. Remove from the heat. Stir in the goat cheese, season with salt and pepper and let cool. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip or a plastic bowl.

Lay 4 or 5 wonton wrappers on a work surface; keep the rest covered with a damp towel. Lightly brush the edges of the wrappers with water. Spoon or pipe a scant teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture onto the center of each wrapper. Fold the wrappers to form triangles. Press out any air bubbles, then press the edges to seal. Transfer the ravioli to a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling to make about 48 ravioli; layer them between sheets of plastic wrap.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the ravioli until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain the ravioli, gently shaking off the excess water. In a large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the ravioli, pears and fennel. Heat through and remove. Lay the ravioli on the plate, then the pear, roasted fennel, arugula and drizzle balsamic glaze for a garnish.

Cook’s Notes:

Tangy goat cheese brings out the vibrancy of a French rosé.

Chili-Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Yield: 4 servings


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, eyeball it

5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended:Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick Grill Mates)

1 large head broccoli, cut into thin, long spears


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, chili powder and grill seasoning in the bottom of a large bowl and add the broccoli spears. Toss to coat broccoli evenly then transfer to a large nonstick baking sheet. Roast the broccoli until ends are crisp and brown and stalks are tender, 17 to 20 minutes.

Filet in a Rosemary and Fennel Red Wine Sauce

Yields: 4 servings


uncooked fennel bulb(s)1 pound(s)

4 filet mignons

2-3 tablespoons of butter

rosemary 1¼ tsp, fresh, chopped

all-purpose flour 1 tsp

olive oil 1 Tbsp, extra-virgin, divided

uncooked red onion(s) 1 small, chopped

red wine 2 fl oz, or white wine (1/4 cup)

minced garlic 2 tsp

canned beef broth 14½ oz

table salt ½ tsp, or to taste

black pepper ⅛ tsp, freshly ground, or to taste


Preheat oven to 415 degrees. Trim stalk from fennel. Quarter bulb lengthwise and then slice crosswise into small pieces; reserve fronds for garnish (you will have about 3 cups fennel). Put filet on a plate and sprinkle with rosemary and salt and pepper. Place the butter in the cast iron skillet and sear the filet on med-high heat for two minutes. Immediately transfer to the preheated oven. I usually cook it for 5-6 minutes for medium rare.

In a separate skillet, over medium-high heat, heat remaining 2 tsp oil. Add fennel and onion; sauté until lightly browned and almost tender, about 7 minutes. Add wine and garlic; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring bottom of pan to scrape up browned bits, until most of wine has evaporated, about 1 minute.

In a small bowl, stir together broth with 1 tsp flour; stir into skillet. Add salt and pepper; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 minute. Pour over slice filet and garnish with fronds.

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