Top 10 Italian Foods and Meals That Aren’t Italian

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Alfredo Sauce

Are you a foodie? Do you love Italian food? Well, rethink about whether you like it or not because most of the meals that you thought were Italian aren’t actually Italian. Most of them are American origins. You will definitely be surprised reckoning how little you know about Italian food. I was.

10. Italian Wedding Cake

Italian Wedding Cake, also known as Italian Cream Cake, despite its name is not actually an Italian dish. This 3 layered cake, filled with coconut and finely chopped nuts, is in fact an American creation. The cake is moist and very dense in appearance.

9. Alfredo Sauce

No Italian in Italy will admit to making, serving, or even hearing of Alfredo sauce. They say it’s an American made-up concept. In the early 1900s there was a restaurant owner in Rome named Alfredo who created a simple sauce of butter and Parmigiano Reggiano on noodles as a cheap dish for tourists. The restaurant is still in business and is called Il Vero Alfredo. But, it is not the heavy, thick, creamy sauce that the rest of the world has grown to love. And, no Italian will ever acknowledge it as being truly “Italian.”

8. Risotto

Risotto is very famous in Italy but not as a dish. Risotto is actually a way of cooking rice. The cooking method involves spoonfuls of broth and wine in regular intervals for 20-30 minutes and then adding cheese and butter to give it the creamy and gravy like texture that it’s famous for.

7. Chicken / Veal Parmesan

Parmigiana is made with eggplant, tomato, caciocavallo cheese, basil. No chicken or veal is used. At best, in some parts of Italy, they alternate with layers of eggplant with ham or beaten eggs, just to make it even more digestible. But otherwise using meat instead and throwing it on top of pasta was an invention of Italian immigrants in the United States and Canada.

6. Macaroni n Cheese

One of my favorite dishes but unfortunately, this one too isn’t truly “Italian” either. Macaroni and cheese goes by several names- mac and cheese, cheese macaroni, macaroni pie, etc. Its basic ingredients are cooked macaroni pasta and cheddar cheese. Also considered as an American comfort food, macaroni and cheese is anything but what Italians would create as the styles they use for cooking are far from how macaroni and cheese is made and served.

5. Pepperoni / Pineapple / Italian Pizza

Nope, pepperoni, pineapple or Italian pizza isn’t Italian either. For starters, In Italy there is no kind of salame called pepperoni. “Peperoni” though is a word which means peppers. As for the pineapple or the famous Italian pizza, well, you will never find those in Italy. Sad, I know.

4. Garlic Bread

You know how you get garlic bread as sides sometimes with other supposedly Italian foods? It turns out that Garlic bread itself isn’t an Italian dish. In fact, no hotel will serve or baker will sell you garlic bread in Italy simply because they don’t eat it like that there. Their alternate for garlic bread is bruschetta which is either topped with fresh chopped tomatoes or with garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

3. Spaghetti Bolognese

Another surprising and disappointing revelation is of the famously Italian Spaghetti Bolognese. The Bolognese sauce – or rather, ragù alla bolognese – is a typical sauce of the city of Bologna, made with tomato sauce and minced meat, and to say that it is cooked slowly would be an euphemism: we’re talking about hours and hours and hours. No one from Bologna, no one from Emilia, no Italian would eat the ragù with any type of pasta that was not tagliatelle or pappardelle or cappelletti. The true “pasta Bolognese” is served over fresh tagliatelle noodles. If you’re wondering why it makes a difference, it’s because the tagliatelle holds the sauce and spaghetti noodles do not.

2. Italian Wedding Soup

What could be more deceiving than naming a soup as Italian Wedding Soup when it’s not even Italian? It consists of green vegetables and meat in a clear chicken-based broth. The term “wedding soup” is actually a mistranslation of the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata” meaning ‘married soup’, which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together. So, next time you place an order for Italian wedding soup, remember that what you’re having is not Italian but just another American version of a supposedly “Italian dish”.

1. Spaghetti and Meatballs

Topping our list of is the famous meal of Spaghetti with meatballs which is undoubtedly the Big Daddy of all Italian-American dishes. There is a sauce with meatballs and sometimes meatballs can found in lasagnas, but, categorically, no Italian family will welcome you with spaghetti with meatballs for Sunday lunch. This was also a dish that, as early as the 1920s, was specifically — and erroneously — marketed to Americans as Italian.

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