There’s a lot wrong with Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t take a serious heartbreak to see through the thinly veiled marketing ploys or pushy PR blast to see it for the Hallmark holiday that it is. Terminally single, I’ve railed against it, mocked it, and ignored it throughout the years, depending on my level of cynicism.
This time around, however, I’ve found a new perspective. Don’t worry, I’m no less of a pessimist, but there’s more than one way to go about this concept. Ultimately, Valentine’s Day should be a celebration of love, and I’m all for that. Love can take many forms, beyond classic romantic love. There’s platonic love for your friends, familial love for your parents; love is love. No one love is lesser than any others, and yes, you can absolutely celebrate self love, too.
Pasta is my love language. It sounds mundane, and for the most part, it is. Dried pasta is a cheap, ubiquitous, reliable staple that’s always on hand for a last-minute meal, haphazardly thrown together at the end of a long day. Homemade pasta, however, is a different story. It’s every bit as affordable, takes only a few extra minutes of labor, and a little more advance planning, but those tiny extra steps pay off in huge dividends. Exactly BECAUSE dried pasta is so easy and accessible, anyone that cares enough to start from scratch clearly cares. It’s a small gesture that says, “I want you to have the best. I want you to enjoy something that I enjoy. I want to make this exactly to your tastes.”
If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is. Even if the noodles are too thick or misshapen, these pretty pink strands could melt the iciest hearts with one bite. Roasted heart-shaped beets make the affection poured into this dish obvious, because life is too short for secret admirers. Don’t cover it up with heavy sauce, either; a touch of olive oil, a few dollops of dairy-free ricotta, garlic, basil, and lemon zest is enough.
There’s no wrong way to express your love. Let’s take back Valentine’s Day and celebrate what’s really important. Love is care, love is kindness, and sometimes, love is pasta.