How much do you really know about Italy and Italian dishes? There is often confusion about Italian food abroad, with some dishes being wrongly perceived as 100% Italian when they are not. Today, I’ll list five Italian dishes that some people believe are from “Il Bel Paese,” but in reality, they either don’t exist in Italy or are solely designed for tourists.
1. Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo, a creamy pasta dish cherished by many abroad, is often associated with Italian cuisine. However, it’s not an Italian dish at all, to the extent that we don’t even know how to prepare it!
2. Caesar Salad
This popular dish is often served in Italian restaurants outside Italy. Its creation can be credited to Caesar Cardini, an Italian-American restauranteur who owned a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, in the 1920s. The dish typically consists of romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and a dressing made from anchovies, garlic, and olive oil. Aside from its creator and the name, which evokes a famous Italian Emperor, this dish has no connection to Italy.
3. Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan is a popular Italian-American dish but that doesn’t exist in Italy. The only real Italian dish with a similar name you’ll find in Italy is Parmigiana di melanzane, Eggplant Parmesan, made with tomato sauce, eggplants and mozzarella.
4. Pepperoni Pizza
Often associated with Italian cuisine, pepperoni pizza isn’t genuinely Italian. In Italy, “peperoni” with just one “p” refers to peppers. So, if you order “Pizza ai peperoni” in Italy, you’ll receive a pizza with peppers on it. The closest thing to the pepperoni pizza in Italy is “pizza al salame piccante,” pizza with spicy salami.
5. Italian dressing
A typical and highly popular salad dressing found in the US, made with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, black pepper, oregano, onions, and parsley. Surprisingly, such a dressing does not exist in Italy. Italians typically dress salads with olive oil, salt, vinegar, or lemon juice, and it’s not a pre-made dressing; we add these ingredients at the moment.
Were you aware that these Italian dishes weren’t originally Italian before coming to Italy? Do you know of some other “Italian dishes” that you cannot find in Italy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Original image by Tumisu