Culture Food & Wine

No Cheese on Fish Pasta: Here’s Why

Here's why Italians do not put cheese on fish pasta!

Good old formaggio, it is flavorful and can make so many Italian dishes come to life. However, there is an exception. In Italy, cheese never goes on fish pasta, for several reasons.

If you go to Italy and ask for cheese on a fish dish, don’t expect a typical response as you will likely be looked at like you’re pazzo.

The rule that cheese does not go on fish originates in Italy, especially since many dishes from other countries combine fish and pasta. Take, for example, arides saganaki, a Grecian dish that combines feta, tomatoes, and broiled shrimp.

So why do Italians forbid cheese on fish pasta? Here are the two main reasons.

1. Flavor

Italians respect, enjoy, and appreciate the fresh flavor of the sea. Moreover, in Italy, less is always more when it comes to flavoring food. Adding fish on top of fresh fish pasta distorts the flavor.

2. Location of Ingredients

Italians use the freshest ingredients, and cows were not living near the coast. Thus, Italians could not use the milk from cows to make cheese and put it on fish that they caught nearby. Cows are commonly found in northern Italy, near grassland, and fresh seafood comes from the coast, typically in central and southern Italy.

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