Eats + Drinks Lifestyle

DIY: Cook a Delicious Valentine’s Dinner at Home <3

Hi! I’m Angela, the Co-Founder of The B Hive Apiary and a certified business coach here in Austin. One of my passions, however, is cooking! I nearly attended culinary school 2 different times – but found my love still endured even when I didn’t go to school.

Even though I don’t cook professionally, I love to come up with simple, delicious recipes for myself and my loved ones. I’ll let you in on a secret – I’m single so when Shuffle Online asked me to share some of my skills in the kitchen I thought, ‘who am I going to make this for!?’ So I decided to double this recipe and invited some of my girlfriends from The B Hive Apiary over for a fancy pre-Valentine’s day dinner! There is nothing more fun than a sorta-fancy dinner with good friends and great wine!

When I was brainstorming ideas, I wanted to do something that I have never done before (it’s kinda my thing) and as I was perusing the local Central Market I came across these bitty Cornish game hens! What doesn’t scream fancy like a whole bird on a plate? I highly encourage you to get creative with your plating – make it much fancier than what I did. We couldn’t wait to eat so…we dove right in!

Homemade pesto just clicked for this recipe. I knew I wanted to have a pasta as a side dish to add a little bit of weight to the meal (and some yummy carbs) and without completely changing flavor profiles, adding rustic mushrooms to up the richness of the pasta.

Ya’ll – pesto sauce is so easy to make! And it can be cheaper to make than it is to buy if you have most of the ingredients at home already. I have a rapidly growing basil plant on my windowsill that does not get utilized enough and garlic, Parmesan and olive oil are staples in my pantry. A quick run to the bulk section at Central Market covers the pine nuts and I’ve got plenty to last me a few more batches of pesto. The best part of homemade pesto is its beautiful color. Store-bought stuff tends to look dark and gray – but with homemade? You’ve got that bright, green color of the fresh basil!

Mushrooms have really grown on me in the last year and I like to keep them simple, slightly crisp and loaded with flavor. Adding Parmesan cheese and garlic to sauteed mushrooms is easy, flavorful and one of my favorite ways to cook them. You won’t be disappointed!

Pair this meal with a nice glass of white wine – or whichever wine you love – because really all that matters is that you love what you’re drinking! Get all the ingredients and instructions below.

Pesto Crusted Cornish Game Hens with Garlic & Parmesan Mushroom Pasta Nests

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cornish Game Hens
  • Angel hair pasta nests – You can buy them already in nests

For the Pesto Sauce:

  • 2 cups basil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

For the Mushrooms:

  • 1/2 package of white or baby portobello mushrooms
  • 3 tbl olive oil
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hour

  • Preheat your oven to 425⁰ and be sure your Cornish Game Hens are thawed.

To make the Pesto Sauce:

  • In a food processor, combine pine nuts, garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper and basil. Process until it’s a thick paste. Add more olive oil if the consistency is more crumbly than paste.
  • In a roasting pan or dish, place your Cornish hens and season with salt and pepper. Spoon a thick layer of pesto sauce on each game hen until evenly coated. Place in the oven for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the bird is 165⁰.
  • Approximately 10 minutes before you are ready to take the hens out of the oven, boil a pot of seasoned water and cook your pasta nests for 3-4 minutes until Al dente. Remove your pasta nests then add salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

To make the mushrooms:

  • In a saute pan or cast iron skillet, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil with your minced garlic. Add your mushrooms, salt & pepper and sauteed until cooked down slightly. Add your Parmesan cheese and stir until cooked thoroughly.

Plate your hen with the pasta nest and the mushrooms atop the pasta! Make this for your significant other, your favorite gals or yourself! Let us know how your dish turned out. Comment below with all your food photos!

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