When most people think about dining in an Italian restaurant, they get ready to order pizza or ravioli. Although these menu items can be delicious, they are not authentic cuisine from this region. Learn about foods that did not originate from this country to enable you to revise your selections accordingly.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Although long spaghetti pasta, tomato sauce, and seasoned meatballs top the list of Italian cuisine, this menu item did not originate in this country. In actuality, this entre was likely born in a New York Italian restaurant in the early 1900s. Overseas in Rome, people are fond of meatballs smothered in tomato sauce. The catch – they never eat this combination on pasta.
For a dish with a lighter flair, many people choose fettuccine Alfredo. This dish features a light and tasty cheese sauce that smothers long fettuccine noodles. In a Roman restaurant in 1920, the chef created this dish to appeal to the tastes of American visitors. In contrast, people of this region do not typically combine cream and pasta in their dishes.
Veal Parmesan involves layering veal, melted cheese, and pasta in a tantalizing dish. The reality is that authentic restaurants in Europe do not serve this dish. Combining melted cheese and meat is not a standard menu item for people in this region. It’s common to eat these foods in the same meal, but never combined together in the same dish. The same goes for chicken – people from Italy simply never combine poultry with pasta. However, you might find seafood pasta in an authentic restaurant in Sicily, thanks to the local catches coming in off the water.
While garlic seems to be a major ingredient in these foods, authentic dishes are not garlic-heavy. It’s the American fare that tends to feature prevalent amounts of garlic. Spreading slices of bread with olive oil or butter and garlic is not an authentic menu item, either. Garlic bread likely surfaced in America during the 1940s.
An Italian restaurant without cheesecake on the menu might seem out of place. In reality, the connection between cheesecake and Italy likely began in the United States. In southern regions of this European country, locals are partial to sweetened ricotta cheese. Chefs pipe this lightly sweetened cheese into cannolis or other delectable pastries. You might find cassata Sicilian in an authentic eatery, which is a sponge cake soaked in liquor with a layer of ricotta on top. Over the ricotta, you will find a layer of green almond paste and icing.
Look for Italian restaurants that feature menu items that do not cater to American palates. Remember, meats and pastas do not combine traditionally. If you find a dish that features both meat and pasta, this is food created for the American consumer. Italian food tends to be regional, according to the unique tastes and preferences of people in each region. To sample authentic cuisine of the entire country, you would need to travel to each individual city.