Summertime Alfresco Dining Made Easy

  • Photography by: Danielle Moss
  • Copy by: Alaina Kaczmarski

Last month Everygirl food editors Lauren Craig and Juley Le provided The Alfresco Dinner Guide: everything one would need to host a memorable outdoor dinner party this summer that didn’t include a barbecue, complete with styling tips and a full menu. To prove anyone could tackle the approachable soirée they outlined, we recreated the alfresco experience for some friends.

The Italian-inspired menu consisted of marinated olives, bruschetta, orange fennel salad, linguini with scallops and avocado, affogato (ice cream with espresso), and a San Pellegrino white wine spritzer (you can see the full list of recipes here). Overall the list of ingredients came out to around $100 and was more than enough food for five adults. So if everyone chips in, $20 a person isn’t bad for such an elaborate meal! 

When we began setting up, we were thrilled to see that Lauren’s styling tips emphasized beauty in simplicity: white dishes and napkins, everyday glasses, some fresh greenery and candlelight, and voila–the tablescape came together quickly and looked lovely. And it took no more than five minutes. The food, however, took a bit longer, but it all came together very easy! Most of the work went to chopping and cutting, the tomatoes (A LOT of tomatoes), herbs, oranges, fennel, lemon wedges, the baguette, scallops, etc. The only thing we were unsure of was how to properly slice fennel, which a quick Internet search remedied (note: if you’ve never cooked with fennel, there is a bulb in the middle that needs to be removed before slicing the rest).

The crowd favorite was the scallop and avocado pasta, followed by the affogato. If you don’t have a coffee or espresso machine at home, just head to your local coffee shop and ask for a few shots of the caffeinated drink to go. The San Pellegrino wine spritzer was also a hit; perfectly refreshing for a hot sunny day. We mixed the sparkling water with a dry pinot grigio per Lauren’s suggestion, but if you prefer something sweeter, you could easily mix with a sauvignon blanc or reisling. We kept an ice bucket and some cool beers on hand, as well. Overall, the meal was a hit! Easy to execute, and enjoyed by all!

Are any of you entertaining this summer? The holiday weekend is coming up! What are your go-to recipes and tips for hosting outdoor get-togethers?

This post is sponsored by San Pellegrino. Practice the Art of Fine Food, every time you can.