Fake Italian Dishes - Part I

Fake Italian Dishes - Part I

Jun 18, 2024Federico Milone

Italian food captivates taste buds worldwide. However, this love has spawned a curious trend: dishes masquerading as Italian classics but straying far from the true culinary heritage. From American inventions to international twists, let's debunk some of the most common imposters that leave Italian grandmothers shaking their heads (and maybe reaching for a hidden bottle of grappa).

1. Garlic Bread

Let's start with an appetizer: garlic bread. This is a simple American preparation made with bread, fresh garlic, and parsley that, despite its simplicity, has nothing to do with classic Italian bruschetta.

2. Fettuccine Alfredo

An iconic first course of American cuisine that is inspired - in its own way - by fettuccine. Fettuccine Alfredo is seasoned with abundant butter and Parmesan cheese, a preparation that, while tasty, does not belong to Italian tradition. The recipe seems to have originated in 1914 in the historic Roman inn "Alfredo alla Scrofa", but it spread abroad as an Italian culinary myth for all intents and purposes.

3. Spaghetti and Meatballs

A dish that deceives many foreigners: spaghetti and meatballs. In Italy, meatballs are used in various regional recipes, but they are never served with spaghetti. Italian tradition calls for tomato sauces, vegetables, or fish, but never meatballs.

4. Chicken Parmigiana

The real Italian Parmigiana is the eggplant one, prepared with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. In the United States, on the other hand, a version with breaded chicken breast, tomato sauce, and cheese has spread, which has nothing to do with the original Italian recipe.

5. Penne alla Vodka

An 80s dish that winks at Russia but has nothing to do with its cuisine. Penne alla vodka were born in a Bologna restaurant and include the use of cream, tomato sauce, vodka, and pancetta. A tasty and rich dish, but not Italian.

True Italian cuisine is a journey to discover different flavors, traditions, and cultures. Don't settle for imitations: go in search of authenticity and let yourself be conquered by the magic of the Italian table. Your palate (and your soul) will thank you.


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