I'm sure many of you will be upset by this. But what I'm going to tell you is actually the truth. The first time I came in the USA was for 6 months as a researcher at UC Berkeley. I really love cooking, so the first thing I asked my new friends was: << Guys, tonight I'm going to cook Italian for you. Which Italian dish do you wanna try? >>.
The answer was Fettuccine Alfredo. << What is fettuccine Alfredo?>> I said. You might think, well, Italy is plenty of regions, maybe it is not common in your Region. Actually, no. Italian Food is the result of millenary traditions. All the dishes in this list are not Traditional or common in Italy. If you do not believe me, you can go to an Italian restaurant (in Italy) asking for it, you will discover that we don't know what are you talking about.
Curious? Here we go with the list.
1. Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo's story is very nice. However, if you actually go to Italy, you will find out that this is not a popular dish either in restaurants and among Italians.
It was invented by Alfredo De Lelio for his wife. After she gave birth to their first son, she was weak, so Alfredo decided to make her fresh pasta with something energical like butter and Parmigiano. Alfredo's wife really liked it and suggested him to insert it in their restaurant's menu. So he did. The reason why Fettuccine Alfredo became popular in the USA is that one day two American actors, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, tasted this dish during their honeymoon in Rome. They liked it, so they made him the gift of two gold tableware as a tribute to his friendly and warm welcome. Since then Fettuccine Alfredo became famous in the USA (and only in the USA). In fact, in Italy, you can find it exclusively in Alfredo's restaurant or in other touristic restaurants that try to attract American tourists. So next time you will go to Rome you'd better try Cacio e Pepe or Carbonara.
2. Pizza Pepperoni
If you are in Italy in a Pizzeria and you order a Pizza Pepperoni, you are going to receive a Pizza with Bell peppers on top. The term "pepperoni" is a borrowing of peperoni, the plural of peperone, the Italian word for bell pepper. The first use of "pepperoni" to refer to a sausage dates to 1919 for an American variety of salami, made from cured pork and beef mixed together and seasoned with paprika or other chili pepper.
Another trick, the word salami (used in the USA as a noun) in Italian is the plural of salame. So if you want to get a pizza with Salame in Italy, you have to ask for a "Pizza con Salame Piccante". And be careful because when you ask for salame piccante in Italy (Hot Salami) you are going to get a really spicy salami!
The classic Pizza names that you would find in any Pizzeria Menù are Margherita, Capricciosa, 4 Stagioni, 4 Formaggi, Siciliana, Caprese, Crudo, Frutti di Mare and Ortolana. If you would like to know more about the ingredients of any of them, leave a comment below.
3. Spaghetti with Meatballs
Here is Another legend about Italian cuisine. We do have Spaghetti in Italy, we do have meatballs but we don't have them in the same plate. We call meatballs, POLPETTE. Polpette are slightly different. First of all, they are smaller and they are primarily eaten as a meal itself (plain) or in soups and made with any kinds of meat, also with turkey and fish, and most of the time they are fried.
The reason why Spaghetti with meatballs are known as an Italian dish is that between 1880 and 1920 about 4 million Italians immigrated to America.
If in Italy meat was a rare luxury, in America meat became a common food. Immigrated Italians passed from impoverished economic circumstances to a richer one. As a result, polpette became bigger, the ratio between meat and breadcrumb changed. At that time the other most common ingredient was pasta (spaghetti) that usually were made with Marinara Sauce. So Spaghetti with meatballs is born. Next time you go to an "Italian Restaurant" and you find in the menu Spaghetti with meatballs, be aware that you are eating Italian-American food and not traditional Italian Food.
4. Chicken on Pasta
Chicken with pasta in Italy is a big NO! A huge NO! A typical daily Italian meal is divided into 5 phases. Antipasto (Starter), Primo that is a Pasta or Rice or Legumes, Secondo that is made of meat, fish, cheese or eggs with a side of vegetables, Frutta (Fruit) and Dolce (Sweets). In any Italian restaurant, the menù is divided into the same sections. You can skip one of these if you want but you CANNOT change order or mix them. You will find meat with pasta just in few cases but this would be a specific salsa, like Carbonara, Matriciana and Ragù.
A typical and easy Italian recipe we suggest is PASTA AGLIO OLIO AND PEPERONCINO - CLICK HERE for the RECIPE >>>
5. Italian Dressing
"Italian dressing is a vinaigrette-type of salad dressing in the United States and Canadian cuisine, consisting of water, vinegar or lemon juice, vegetable oil, chopped bell peppers, usually sugar or corn syrup, and a blend of numerous herbs and spices including oregano, fennel, dill, and salt. Onion and garlic can also be used to intensify the dressing’s flavor. It is often bought bottled, or prepared by mixing oil and vinegar with a packaged flavoring mix consisting of dehydrated vegetables and herbs." - Wikipedia
Well, you might be surprised to know that salad in Italy is supposed to be something light and healthy so every vegetable, raw or cooked, in Italy is seasoned with just salt and 100% Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. High-Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil is something very important for the Mediterranean Diet, healthy and basic in our Diet. Some people like to add Aceto Balsamico (Balsamic Vinegar) or just Vinegar but that's it.
Are you looking for an Authentic Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil? CLICK HERE>>> This comes from Sicily and it is one of the most appreciated!
So I hope this article did not upset you. I hope it taught you something. I hope also that this will be helpful the next time you will choose an Italian restaurant. You know now that you have to avoid some dishes and red - white checkered tablecloths, and looking instead for one with white tablecloth ;)