Italian dishes are some of the most popular cuisine in the world and restaurants across the globe include famous Italian dishes on their menu. Similarly, more people than ever are including Italian dishes in their home cooking. This is partially due to the simplicity of Italian dishes and also because of media influences, such as cooking programs. However, the dishes cooked in restaurants and people’s homes that people think are Italian often do not come from Italy at all!
1. Pepperoni Pizza
In America, pepperoni is one of the most popular toppings on a pizza. In Italy, this topping doesn’t exist and if you asked for a pepperoni pizza, the pizzeria would serve you a pizza topped with grilled peppers as this is what pepperoni is in Italian. Instead, you would have to request a topping of spicy salami, or ‘salame piccante’.
2. Spaghetti Bolognese
One of the most popular ‘Italian’ dishes served in homes around the world is spaghetti Bolognese, though it is not an Italian dish at all. The Bolognese is loosely based on the ragu sauce made by Italians, but the ingredients are very different. Plus, Italians tend to coat their pasta with a sauce rather than serve a large dollop in the center of the plate and then top it with cheese. In fact, the whole concept of spaghetti Bolognese is completely lost on true Italians.
3. Garlic Bread
The concept of garlic bread is almost non-existent in Italy, especially when the garlic butter is melted onto a baguette as this is a French bread. The nearest dish to this in Italy is bruschetta as this is ciabatta bread rubbed with garlic with other toppings added.
The origins of this dish stem from an Italian dish that used butter and sage. However, when it was brought to America, the butter and sage were replaced by cream and parsley, thus creating a whole new dish not recognized by the Italians. In America, this dish is often served with the addition of chicken and called Anglo Penne Alfredo. This is an even bigger no-no in Italy as the only parts of chicken used in pasta dishes are the offal.
5. Ham and Pineapple Pizza- The ‘Hawaiian’
After Margarita and pepperoni pizzas, the Hawaiian is probably the next most popular choice. This consists of a dough base, tomato puree, cheese and then toppings of ham and pineapple. However, this is not a pizza you will ever see on a true Italian pizzeria menu. This is not an Italian invention or even an American one. Nor is it a creation originating from Hawaii as the name would suggest. The roots of this pizza are actually Canadian.
6. Spaghetti Carbonara with Cream
Although spaghetti carbonara is an Italian dish, it is the way that it is cooked in England and America that causes an issue to hardcore Italians. First, Italians never ever cook this pasta dish with cream. The creamy texture comes from the addition of egg yolks. Secondly, Italians only ever use pork cheek or pancetta, not ham or bacon. Finally, the English and Americans tend to add other ingredients, such as mushrooms or onions.