For Valentine’s: A one-pot pasta for two, topped with chocolate-covered strawberries

Natalie Laczewski | Daily Trojan

Natalie Laczewski | Daily Trojan

The time of year has rolled around again; hints of pink and red hues are popping up around campus and students are making plans for the big, romantic weekend ahead. But when it comes down to it, we’re still college students who are usually strapped for both time and cash — we all understand the struggle.

You don’t need a lot of time or money or fancy reservations to celebrate this year’s Valentine’s Day though. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy the night with your significant other whether that be with your girlfriend, boyfriend, mom, dad, dog, cat, laptop or fridge, I’ve got a game plan that is sure to play out well for both you and your friend.

One-pot meals are currently all the rave as they offer an easy way to make a delicious meal using a minimal amount of time, money, and dishes.What better food to eat for a Valentine’s dinner than a lightly sauced pasta made with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil? Sounds good, right?

Try out this one-pot pasta that will leave you with your taste buds tingling, your sink with minimal dishes and your date satisfied.


  • 12 ounces linguine (any pasta will do really, just be watchful of the recommended cooking times
  • 12 ounces or one container of cherry tomatoes (I sliced my tomatoes into halves)
  • 2 sprigs basil (plus more if you want to be all fancy and decorate the finished product)
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tiny bit of red pepper flakes or other seasonings (optional)
  • 4.5 cups water (I found myself having too much water leftover in the end so I may suggest cooking with less water or draining some water out of your pot after cooking)



  1. First, simply cut your tomatoes, garlic, basil, and onions as desired.
  2. Throw all of the ingredients listed above into one pot-yes, just one.
  3. Cook until your pasta is al dente and until a majority of the water in your pot has evaporated.


As I stated above, I found my pasta to be cooked thoroughly but still had a good amount of water left over, so I stopped boiling the water and drained about a cup of the starchy water out.


Serve your pasta in either plates or bowls and season additionally if necessary. A sprinkle of grated parmesan on top definitely completes this recipe. Top off your masterpiece with a bit of basil to make it look even nicer for your significant other if you’d prefer. After you and your date have stuffed yourselves full with a heaping plate of gourmet pasta, following up with a sweet, chocolatey dessert is a must.


As for dessert, you can never go wrong with chocolate-covered strawberries. If you’re not the greatest baker, treat your friend to decadent and delightful chocolate-covered strawberries! I think handmade treats are definitely sweeter and more sincere.

For this recipe, all you will need is a pack of fresh strawberries that you can pick up from multiple locations on or near campus: Seeds, Fresh & Easy or maybe you were lucky to snag some from this week’s Farmer’s Market.


Wash and dry your strawberries but leave the stems on — they will come in handy for dipping. It may be a good idea to wait until your strawberries are at room temperature so the chocolate does not get too chunky with moisture from the strawberries while dipping.


The second main ingredient would obviously be chocolate. If I can get my hands on it, I prefer to use chocolate or vanilla almond bark as it is easy to melt and coats smoothly. But after checking both CVS and Fresh & Easy, I had to settle for a bag of milk and dark chocolate chips.

You can use or create a double-boiler system to melt your chocolate, or take the easy route and pour a bag of chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl.

Be careful in melting your chocolate-I would recommend microwaving the chips in small increments of 15-20 seconds because chocolate can easily be burned. (Yes, I admit to having screwed up this “easy” step before.)

Have parchment paper set up before you start dipping. (CVS and Fresh & Easy have both been recently out of parchment paper so I had to settle with aluminum foil which also worked fine.)


Dip your strawberries into the melted chocolate coating all sides and leaving a bit of red between the chocolate and the stems for visual appeal.

You can leave your strawberries out to harden with just chocolate on them, or you can be a bit creative and dip your strawberries in additional toppings.


I opted for whatever I found laying in my pantry: walnuts, cheerios that I crushed, and sweetened coconut flakes.

These toppings add both flavor and decoration to your chocolatey masterpieces.

You can leave your strawberries in the fridge to harden, but leaving them in too long might result in too much moisture between the layers which can make the chocolate and strawberry combination not as satisfying.


Both dinner and dessert are great to eat and share with a special someone on Valentine’s Day, but what would be even more fun would be to prepare the meal together!

So whether you’re spending the day with your date, friends, family or if you’re just chilling on your own, these recipes can make your Valentine’s Day just a bit easier and sweeter.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Trojans!