If there’s something I cannot stand when I read about italian food is the fact that, according to a lot of not italian people, italians eat in a way we don’t really eat. This is probably something not italian people cannot understand but, trust me, it’s really frustrating when you have to read a menu or a magazine with untrue stories about italian food. Here we are, a list (please feel free to add elements if you want) of food and dishes we don’t really eat in Italy or we don’t know at all because not italian. I always say to people that cooking is not an art and it’s only extemporization BUT if you want to “eat like an italian” you cannot invent recipes and pretend that they really exist. Yes, I’m very closed-minded when we talk about traditional and local food, not only italian even if I understand that sometimes pretend to claim a reality that doesn’t exist is way better in terms of money!
First of all, pasta with chicken: it can be fettuccine or, worse and worse, carbonara sauce. This is the best way to humiliate italian food, this is not italian, this doesn’t exist, this is a product of the not-italian chef when they tried to force a non existent italian food experience and made this a strange habit. For me, as italian, it’s also embarassing to point out that in Italy there are no recipes with chicken sauce.
Same as above, fettuccine (or, worse and worse fettuccini/fetucini) Alfredo is something we don’t know because they don’t exist for us: they were invented by Alfredo Di Lelio in his restaurant in Rome (Via della Scrofa 103, now named Alfredo alla Scrofa) but they have never been traditional in Italy. Originally they (apparently) were made seasoning the fettuccine 2 or 3 times with butter and parmesan to make a very rich cream and this was the reason why they became famous expecially in Usa: the owner of the restaurant had some famous guests in his place and that created one of the worse misunderstanding all over the world. Now, fettucine Alfredo are usually seasoned not only with butter and parmesan but with a lot of cream and trust me: if you’re in my country you certainly cannot eat this kind of pasta with butter and parmesan unless you’re at home and you’re so sick that mum has to make a pasta with butter and parmesan for your recovery.
Spaghetti with meatballs, do you really want to talk about this? We don’t eat meatballs with spaghetti but we eat spaghetti and, after that, meatballs or we use meatballs in our lasagna. Never ever the two things go together.
And never never never try to say “I want a carbonara only if there’s some cream in it” because carbonara is without cream, at all!
In Uk and Usa you can find chicken pizza and a lot of time they suggest this is a real italian recipe: well, it’s not. Luckily I’ve never seen chicken pizza in Italy.
Last but not least it’s chicken parmesan and I’m terrified to point out that this dish doesn’t exist (look at the photo taken here and please think about what you’re going to eat!): it’s a fried chicken breast with tomato sauce over plain pasta and full of parmesan cheese. Are you kidding me? No way, this is one of the unreal dish I’ve ever seen in my life and please do not state this italian because it’s not.
As most people know, italian food is mostly regional but there are some specs that are always the same and when I see some menu or I read some magazine I only would kill myself before killing the author (yes, also the most important ones!)!
Advice: this is one of the post I’ll write about italian food all over the world. Few months ago I was asked to remove a post in which I commented the lack of attention of a famous irish magazine regarding italian food and I have to admit it was particularly strange that a big editor should came to me asking to remove the contents (I suppose they did because I was right ). Well, if it works in this way I’ll be careful pointing my finger without making names… just use your sense of judgment before buying things/magazines or eating out.
Linda suggests me to add clams and linguini or other seafood pasta with parmesan cheese as other examples of not italian food considered italian! Done!