This post is sponsored by Bertolli.

Post-grad dating is weird, and college dating is probably even weirder. From navigating dating apps to picking out a place to go, planning a date can be as daunting as buying groceries for the entire week. Read: the step is totally necessary if you're trying to be an adult, but the effort can seem like a lot.

Analogies aside, it's time to turn off our dating cynicism and embrace the lovely parts of dating, like flirty texts, spooning, and long walks to your favorite food truck. Because it's true, sometimes in the world of dating, you'll have a streak of luck and you'll meet a human you actually, really like. So much so that you'll want to do more than sit in another bar with them at 3 a.m. on a Saturday. You will even want to hang during the week

So, if you just had the realization that you're the person above, and that dating can be totally worth it, we'd like to encourage you to shed the pressure around date night and take hanging out with your person on the weeknight to the next level. Whether you're on your sixth date or you've been "official" with this person since before it was cool to define the relationship on Facebook, take advantage of the moments your schedules are actually in sync. You can have an epic night without spending all of your money or leaving your apartment. Enter: the DIY romantic Italian dinner at home.

We've created a fail-proof plan to create saucy vibes and make the best food with Bertolli's frozen meals. The most glorious part about serving Bertolli frozen meals and getting resourceful in your own space is that you get to enjoy an authentic-tasting Italian meal with a lot less prep time, less travel time, and more time to spend with your significant other. Cue the "aw's" and watch this video that will walk you through everything.

However, if you're low on data or currently commuting on the train and the video won't load, here's a quick overview of everything we'll teach you. The time to pull off the most romantic Italian dinner is NOW, and Bertolli is here to help.

The five main things you need to consider are the table, mood, antipasto, primo, and dolce. Boom. Read on.

5 Easy Steps to a Romantic Italian Dinner

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#1 the Table — Finding alone time in your apartment post graduation can be very trying, for one reason and one reason only: your roommate. Or... because of the lack of space, money, my-apartment-is-always-a-mess, or your roommate, again. Here at Spoon we believe that traditional limitations aren't actually limitations at all — if you want something you can make it happen.

The number one way to get around the roommate problem is to set up the table in your room. So if you're vibing with how we turned a desk into a dining table, but you don't have a desk, get creative! Grab a side table, use your bed and a flat surface, or reuse that big moving box you still haven't thrown out yet. Worst case scenario, Venmo your roommate $15 and send them on their way to a movie.

Sry not sry, roomie — peace, love, Spoon.

#2 the Mood — Harsh lighting is no friend on date night, but it's almost unavoidable in rentable spaces like your home away from "home" home. Figure out different light sources to soften the lighting, throw a scarf over your lamp or pick up some light bulbs with different brightness levels. They're only a few dollars and can make a huge difference in the ambiance. No one wants to eat Fettuccine Alfredo or make out under fluorescent lights, trust us. 

#3 the Antipasto — Your first Italian lesson of the day: Antipasto is the Italian word for appetizer. One of the biggest differences between going out for a nice dinner and whipping up something on the stove are the little moments like the table scape, the lighting, and the appetizers. The small bites of food before the main dish make the experience feel more comprehensive and complete when it's over. So, take a breath, break some bread with your human, and start to enjoy your evening. Bonus: By making your own garlic bread you get to control the bread basket and make it as unlimited as you want. 

#SpoonTip: If you don't have an oven just use a toaster oven!

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#4 the Primo — This simply means the first course and it typically consists of hot food and lots of pasta options. In this set up, it's going to be the main dish and have a few elements closer to that of the "secondo," which is the second course and typically features the meat of the meal. We recommend trying Bertolli's Chicken Parmigiana & Penne, because it's delicious, tastes authentically Italian, uses premium ingredients, and is still super easy to prepare.  

#5 the Dolce — Welcome to sweet life, lovebirds. A romantic dinner isn't complete without dessert (dolce = sweet in Italian). Usually, we believe that eating out is worth the risk, time, and money because you get to try things you wouldn't normally make. But oh how the tables turn, because we've figured out how to hack your favorite Italian dessert in just a few simple steps. Watch the video below for steps on how to make tiramisu in a mason jar. 

All in all, these five steps are your blueprint, Bertolli is your best friend you never knew you had who actually knows how to cook, and we, Spoon, are your ultimate romantic dinner wingman. And next time, maybe we'll even have wings, buffalo wings. 

Bertolli® is a registered trademark of Mizkan America, Inc., used under license.