There's nothing like a home-cooked meal to bring your loved ones together. We've partnered with
Riondo Prosecco to show you how easy an Italian-inspired dinner can come together this Summer — all without breaking the bank.
Is it just us, or does time truly seem to slow down in the Summer? Workloads get a little lighter, schedules get a little less hectic, and spending time with family and friends makes its way to the top of our priority list. To make the most of the warm weather and the lazy days with loved ones, why not don your chef hat for a night of homemade, Italian-style dining that's as budget-friendly as it is memorable and delicious? From table settings and main course recipes to the perfect bubbly to pair with your al fresco evening, read on to see our can't-miss tips.
Set the Mood
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd
To channel the essence of the outdoor cafes you'd pass during a nighttime stroll on Italy's serene streets, turn up the mood with simple accents. Beyond your classic glass and silverware, add in a few candles to infuse your space with warmth. Short and simple ones will do just fine, but tall or pillar-style candles will give your evening a luxe feel. Next, adorn your table with flowers to add a punch of freshness. (Cyclamen and geraniums are Italian favorites!) If you're truly looking to go easy on your wallet, opt for faux flowers that will save you money in the long run because they're endlessly reusable and you won't have to worry about keeping them alive.
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Ditch the Antipasti For Insalata
Instead of filling up on traditional antipasti bites like pricey cheeses and cured meats, go green with a classic and light Italian salad. Not only will this help curb your guests' appetites, but it will also balance out the heavier main course to come.
Pro tip: ditch the caprese salad for a recipe that uses rich greens as its base. Fresh mozzarella can quickly run up your grocery bill, but leafy greens are always an affordable fan favorite. Finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a mix of veggies.
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Keep It Facile
Because budget-friendly is the name of the game here, forgo those inevitably expensive meat or seafood options and stick with a trusty first-course favorite: pasta. Not only is this dish ultra-affordable and satisfying, but it can also be
completely customized to your liking. Whether you're the type to go for a classic marinara, try a creamy alfredo, or even just keep it classic with olive oil and garlic, the possibilities are endless. If you feel the need to splurge on anything, do so with fresh garnishes — like a delicious cheese to grate on top or flavorful basil leaves — that will truly change your dish.
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Sip a Signature Aperitif or Digestif
Image Source: Riondo Prosecco
This wouldn't be an al fresco meal without the help of a refreshing drink to keep the night moving. Though a still wine might traditionally come to mind, we suggest choosing a
crisp and clean sparkling version to make your meal feel that much more special. Our affordable suggestion? A light and crisp bottle of Riondo Prosecco that offers just the right amount of sweetness. In true Italian style, pour yourself a tall glass as an aperitif before you even sit down and enjoy it throughout your meal and into dessert as a digestif to cap off a memorable night.
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