It is Supper Club Night! Twinkling lights, a warm breeze, a glorious table loaded with Italian goodies, glasses of red wine, and the company of good friends. What more could you ask for on a Saturday evening?! Here is your Italian Night Al Fresco Dinner Party Menu!
My favorite spot in my house is the screen porch off the kitchen. My kids love to do their homework on the table or relax on the couch out there. I have spent endless hours reading, lounging, and planning in my favorite chair. One thing I had always wanted to do was to hang some white lights from the ceiling and move the furniture to create a long farm table and host friends for an al fresco dinner. My turn to host Supper Club was coming up in early September and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to make my vision a reality.
I do love playing hostess, but I don’t like spending the whole evening in the kitchen and missing out on all of the fun! So, my goal for this party was to do as many things as I could beforehand so that I was spending more time with my guests and less time cooking while they were there. It really worked out beautifully this time!
ITALIAN NIGHT AL FRESCO DINNER PARTY MENU
I love to cook, but I am a recipe follower, not developer! All of the links below are to recipes created by those listed that I found during my menu creation for this party. Please give these sites some love and check out the other yummy food they make!
- Lemoncello Vodka Collins from Barefoot Contessa – RECIPE
This was a refreshing way to begin the evening and it was a bonus that it could be made ahead of time in a pitcher with the club soda added once the guests arrived.
- Melon Caprese Skewers from What’s Gaby Cooking – RECIPE
- Figs with Goat Cheese and Pistachios from A Subtle Revelry – RECIPE
- Herb Roasted Shrimp from Joyful Healthy Eats – RECIPE
I wanted to stay away from bread-heavy appetizers since our main course was pasta. These were perfect! The basil vinaigrette on the melon skewers was AMAZING! We were dipping everything we could think of into what was leftover! Cutting the figs in half instead of attempting to stuff them is genius! I prepped all of these appetizers earlier in the day and simply had to roast the shrimp and put everything on the table. So simple and delicious!
- Zucchini Ribbon Salad (with Pine Nuts and Parmesan) from Proud Italian Cook – RECIPE
- Papardalle Bolognese from Anne Burrell at Food Network – RECIPE
- Italian bread with dipping oil
Not only is this bolognese delicious, but it makes the house smell amazing. I made it the day before and put it back on the stove to slowly reheat a couple of hours before the party. That takes so much pressure off. Then all you are doing at the party is boiling water and cooking the pasta.
This salad was a winning surprise. I knew I would love it, but I didn’t know how much my guests would love it too! One of my friends even made it herself the next week. It’s that yummy and you can really play around with the cheese and nut combinations to suit your tastes or menu. I used pine nuts and parmesan. I decided to go with individual small loaves of bread with little plates of dipping oil scattered around the table. They looked so pretty on the table and the my friends thought it was such a nice idea.
- Affogato from A Family Feast – RECIPE
- Shot options: Amaretto, Baileys, Bourbon, Frangelico, Godiva
- Chocolate Almond Biscotti from Eric MacCormack – RECIPE
These chocolate almond biscotti are a staple on my Christmas cookie list, but I brought them out early this year for this dinner. They did not disappoint. Can we just talk for a second about the affogato though? It is simply a scoop of gelato (I used vanilla) presented in a dish (I used red wine glasses) with a shot of hot espresso and a shot of liqueur (guest choice) on either side. You each pour your own espresso and liqueur over the gelato and eat. More like die and go to heaven. It sounds simple. Check! It sounds fine. Nope! It is RIDICULOUS! Honestly so incredibly good we were all considering licking our glasses!
On a side note, I went to the coffee shop earlier in the day and ordered enough shots of espresso for the number of guests at the party. They looked at me like I was crazy, but they did it. I poured the espresso into a thermal carafe I have at home and it kept it hot until the party. I also scooped the gelato and put them on a freezer paper lined cookie sheet so I didn’t have to mess with that either. Best. Dessert. Ever.
- Italian sodas
- Red Wine
SOME DECORATING AND
- A simple runner for down the center of the table for this outdoor setting is wrapping paper. I found this brown paper roll with white flowers printed on it at the dollar store. Easy clean up from the splatters of pasta sauce that are bound to happen!
- The centerpiece was a rectangular platter with candles among fresh rosemary, mint, and basil from the garden with lemons and limes placed throughout. You could certainly do this without the platter and place the items directly on the table.
- I chose to do individual mini loaves of bread for each guest. I placed each one in a paper treat bag and wrapped some baker’s twine around. These were placed in the enter of each place setting.
- The appetizers and meal were served family style. The dessert was individually plated and served.
- We hung white outdoor lights on the porch and dimmed the fan lights.
- We found a great station on Pandora called Italian Cooking Music Radio. It was perfect!
We had such a nice time at this Supper Club dinner. Everyone was relaxed and able to enjoy the weather, the food, and the company. I can’t wait until we do it again!