Fettuccine Alfredo and other Italian dish that do not actually exist in Italy
Sit down and be prepared to hear something that may shock you: fettuccine Alfredo do not actually exist in Italy! And that's not the only dish, together with pepperoni pizza, chicken parmesan, garlic bread, Italian dressing and latte coffee, this get often mistaken for Italian but is not. Although these dishes weren't born in Italy, most of them were invented by Italian American immigrants who got inspired by real traditional Italian dishes. If you are curious to know more about these Italian dish that do not exist in Italy and dispels a few Italian food myths, then you reached the right place.
the first enemy of cacio and pepe pasta
If you order fettuccine Alfredo in a restaurant in Italy, they may treat you as if you were an alien, since the average Italian doesn’t know what you are talking about. According to many people, this dish made with creamy cheesy sauce and fettuccine pasta was actually born in Italy, precisely in Rome. However, the truth is that fettuccine alfredo didn't take off in Italy as it did in the US and there's only one place where you can find it: Alfredo restaurant, in Rome. So, if you’re in Italy and want to eat a cheesy pasta, we suggest you ordering a cacio and pepe pasta: the delicacy from Rome made with pecorino cheese and black pepper.
Pepperoni pizza: the false friend
If you want some spicy salami slices on your pizza, then don’t ask for pepperoni pizza! In Italy, pepperoni is plural for bell peppers, so if you order a pepperoni pizza, you’ll end up with a pizza topped with grilled bell peppers. The magic word if you want to disguised among Italians and eat your pizza with spicy salami, is pizza with salame piccante or Diavola pizza. This last, literally means "evil pizza", since Italians usually refer to spicy food as "diavolo" or "arrabbiata" (literally "angry"). Talking about pizza, there are so many gourmet pizza toppings in Italy, but pinapple pizza or Hawaiian pizza is not on the list. The thought of pinapple over pizza traumatizes many Italians as it’s proven by the many memes they made about it.
Chicken parmesan: or you should say parmigiana
If a quite acceptable number of Italians know fettuccine Alfredo and pepperoni pizza, when talking about chicken parmesan the percentage is drastically lower and they genuinely don’t know what you’re talking about! Made with chicken breast, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, this dish is almost surely inspired by the Italian eggplant parmigiana, the famous dish from Southern Italy made with fried eggplant, tomatoes sauce and mozzarella cheese. So, don't upset Italians with chicken parmesan and a "parmigiana di melanzane" instead, which is a traditional Italian dish.
Garlic bread: the delicious non-Italian bread
The myth that Italians love garlic isn't completely true, or, at least not in every Italian region there's a widespread use of garlic. Garlic bread is the proof, since it doesn't exist in none of the Italian regions. The idea that this could ever be considered Italian is particularly perplexing also by the fact that to make garlic bread, Americans normally use baguette, which is a french type of bread very uncommon in Italy. Garlic bread may be inspired by Italian bruschetta: a slice of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and then covered with tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil. If you want to make good impression with an Italian, order a bruschetta and remember that the correct pronounce is "bruschetta" and not "brushetta" with a "sh" sound.
Italian dressing: the Italian-inspired condiment
Every American supermarket shelf has an Italian dressing and you can easily find it also in many restaurant. However, this tangy vinaigrette made of corn syrup, vinegar, vegetable oil, herbs and bell peppers has nothing "Italian". The truth is that it's hard to find any trace of salad dressing at all in Italian supermarkets or restaurants. Italians actually love simple food and the only way of making "Italian dressing" is with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar , that's all! Either if you drizzle them directly on to the salad or mix it beforehand, they are the only condiments Italians trust to dress their salads.
the American response to latte macchiato
If you're in Italy and you want to order a latte coffee, then remember to ask for a latte macchiato, which is a creamy milk marked with some espresso. If you just say latte, you’ll just get a glass of milk (sometimes even cold from the refrigerator), since "latte" means "milk" in Italian. We have a last suggestion if you want to order coffee like an Italian : do not order a latte coffee or a cappuccino after 12 a.m., or you’ll get a funny look! Italians actually believe that too much milk unsettles your stomach after having lunch or dinner. Now that you've learned some of the Italian recipes that do not exist in Italy, you are ready to order in every Italian restaurant without being mocked for ordering fettuccine alfredo!