Updated: Jan 5, 2018
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.
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.