The holiday season is often associated with big gatherings and festive parties, but that’s not the only way to celebrate. If it’s just you and your significant other for the holidays, an intimate Christmas dinner for two is the perfect way to mark the occasion. And this year, you can skip the reservations—make the evening extra special by whipping up your own restaurant-style dinner at home.
The star of this Christmas dinner for two menu is a juicy pork tenderloin stuffed with sautéed shallots, white wine-poached pears, and blue cheese. To simplify the rest of the meal, we kept the appetizer and dessert easy. Breadsticks wrapped with prosciutto look fancy but couldn’t be easier, and to top it all off? A crowd favorite: affogato ice cream, which polishes off the meal on a sweet note. Don’t forget to set the ambiance with candles and seasonal flowers!
Whether it’s Christmas or any other special occasion, your significant other will appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into this dinner (and we won’t tell anyone that it took you less than an hour!).
The Appetizer: Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadsticks
Total time: 5 minutes | Difficulty: Easy
Thin breadsticks (also called Grissini)
Thinly sliced prosciutto
This can be done up to 20 minutes before dinner. If you let the prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks sit longer, the prosciutto will soften the crunchy breadsticks.
1. Slice each piece of prosciutto in half lengthwise.
2. Wrap the prosciutto around the breadsticks at an angle. Use 2 cut pieces of prosciutto per breadstick.
The Main Course: Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Shallots, Poached Pears, and Blue Cheese
Total time: 45 minutes | Difficulty: Medium
1.5 pounds pork tenderloin
2 Bosc pears (2 cups once diced)
2 medium shallots (1 cup once sliced)
1 tbsp salted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 1/2 feet of butcher’s twine
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Dice pears into small 1/4-inch squares. Thinly slice the shallot.
2. Melt butter in a Dutch oven or an oven-safe pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the pear and white wine. Let steadily simmer for about 12 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the pears are translucent.
3. While the pears simmer, slice the pork tenderloin horizontally down the center. Slice almost all the way through the tenderloin, and then lay it flat.
4. Once the pears and shallots are done simmering, generously pile the mixture into the center of the tenderloin.
5. Pile the crumbled blue cheese on top of the shallots and poached pears. Cut the butcher’s twine into 6-inch pieces. Then, press the shallots, pears, and blue cheese down and pull the tenderloin together. Top with the rosemary, and tie with the butcher’s twine. The easiest technique is to slide the butcher’s twine underneath the pork and then pull the pork together and tie it closed. Cut the excess twine after tying it. Top the pork with the remaining salt and pepper.6. Heat olive oil in the same Dutch oven or pan (no need to wash it) over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the pork tenderloin and sear for 2-3 minutes until it has browned. Rotate the tenderloin in the pan 2-3 times, letting all sides brown.
7. Place a lid on the pot, and put the tenderloin in the oven to bake. Let the tenderloin bake for 12 minutes or until it reaches 145 degrees with a meat thermometer.
8. Remove the tenderloin from the pot and place it on a cutting board to rest. The tenderloin needs to rest for 5 minutes before you slice it. This keeps the juices in the meat, making it tender.
9. Pour the chicken broth into the pot you used to cook the tenderloin. Simmer over medium heat, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Let reduce and thicken for 5 minutes, creating a sauce.
10. Slice the tenderloin, removing the butcher’s twine as you go. Serve with the sauce poured over the meat.
The Dessert: Affogato
Total time: 5 minutes | Difficulty: Easy
Vanilla ice cream
1 cup dip coffee or 2 shots espresso
1. Before dinner, prepare the coffee or espresso and let cool to room temperature.
2. After dinner, scoop vanilla ice cream into bowls, pour the coffee over, and add raspberries on top. Serve immediately.