‘Spot On’ Spaghetti Carbonara

Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate! I do, enthusiastically. I’ll take any excuse to bring out oysters, Champagne and chocolate on the same evening.

We observe the day at home, with a dinner that’s easy to throw together on a weeknight yet still feels exceptional. Like spaghetti carbonara. It’s not hard to make, but Ian Fisher’s minimalist recipe (no onion, no garlic, no cream) is precise, and nailing the details here yields next-level results. Serve it in warmed pasta bowls as soon as it’s done, with your bubbly (or other festive sipper) popped and poured. Carbonara waits for no one.

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Spaghetti Carbonara

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In keeping with the valentine vibes, you could also opt for a rosy-hued aperitivo. Campari lovers like me will reach first for that astringent liqueur, which — fun fact! — until recently got its color from a ruddy powder extracted from crushed beetles. Rebekah Peppler’s Milano-Torino cocktail, a predecessor to the Americano, combines Milanese Campari with sweet vermouth from Turin to create a rubicund, icy delight. (And beetle-free!)

Now then, what about the rest of the week? If you’re thinking chicken, you couldn’t do better than Eric Kim’s five-star roasted chicken with fish sauce butter. He crisps the chicken on a sheet pan so the fat renders, then adds bread cubes to the pan to toast and soak up the schmaltz. Everything gets drizzled with a buttery sauce seasoned with fish sauce and sweetened with brown sugar.

If you’re in the mood for fish, my green curry salmon with coconut rice is a one-pot meal that gets its aromatic punch from a jar of green curry paste, augmented with a handful of cilantro leaves and plenty of lime juice. Feel free to substitute any other fish for the salmon: mackerel and steelhead trout for a richer flavor, or a flaky white fish such as hake or fluke for something milder.

For dessert, if you don’t already have something lined up for tonight, and do happen to have chocolate and coconut oil in the house, you can make my adaptation of Thomas Keller’s chocolate shell ice cream topping in five minutes flat. Like the commercial product Magic Shell, it hardens on contact with cold ice cream or sorbet, firming into a brittle shell. For something a bit more ambitious, as well as deluxe, try Eric Kim’s chocolate-covered strawberries. Pass them out to your valentines and spread the love.

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That’s all for now, I’ll see you on Monday.

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