The most challenging aspect of entertaining is being able to coordinate all the details right so that when your friends arrive, the table is already set, the cocktails are being served, the food is ready to come out of the kitchen hot, and you’re unoccupied enough to actually entertain your guests. This is why I’ve gotten wise to the idea of taking appropriate shortcuts where I can, especially when it comes to planning a weekday dinner party. Setting the table the night before and utilizing foliage you already have as decor, like branches clippings and fruit in place of flowers, leaves you enough time to prepare your meal. Adding small, spontaneous touches like tying herbs to individual loaves of bread and dressing the table with an abundance of candles makes a huge impression with little to no effort. And simply heating up a few of Bertolli‘s many delicious, authentic Italian skillet meals over the stove, just minutes before dinnertime, means your guests will be delightfully satisfied and you won’t have to miss out on all the table side fun. After all, you are the host! Check out how our midweek, Tuscan-themed dinner party came together with the help of Bertolli. Hopefully, it will inspire you to Mangia!

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(photography by Aubrie Pick, styled by Bianca Sotelo, editorial direction by HonestlyWTF)