Go easy on yourself this V-Day with this foolproof plan.
Veal Ragù with Porcini

Enjoying Valentine's Day comes down to one important strategy: tempering expectations. So this year, instead of stressing out over a needlessly involved Valentine's Day dinner, try a different strategy that will minimize time and anxiety in the kitchen, and maximize time with your significant other. Enter the pressure cooker.

With a little prep work, you can set your pressure cooker and skip right along to popping the Champagne.

We’ve laid out a full menu for the perfect V-Day dinner below, but even if you make just one of these dishes, you’ll be thanking your pressure cooker for taking the, ahem, pressure off of serving up an elegant dinner for two.

Caramelized Carrot Soup

To start: Caramelized Carrot Soup

The pressure cooker gets a little help from baking soda in this recipe for rich and creamy carrot soup. High pressure and pH-adjusting baking soda combine to create sweetly caramelized carrots in about 10 minutes. Lightly spicy ginger, fragrant tarragon and caraway seeds round out this silky soup.

The star: Veal Ragu with Porcini

This is where the pressure cooker shines: tenderizing tough cuts in a fraction of the time. Namely, perfect veal in less than an hour. Here, the high pressure breaks down veal shoulder into fork-tender bites with a built-in sauce of porcini mushrooms and dry white wine.

The perfect pairing: Saffron Risotto

Lightly pink from the floral threads of saffron, this risotto doesn’t require constant stirring. The pressure cooker pulls starch from the rice, leaving you with a perfectly creamy texture that will rival any restaurant-grade risotto.

And of course, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate, so to really take the pressure off, buy a box of something sweet, and dessert is done! We especially love these chocolate-covered figs, but let your heart lead the way.