How Italian is it?

It seems like a lot of things we associate with Italian food seems “authentic”, but I came across an article that dispels many of these myths. I’m not going to lie, I was shocked at some of these discoveries.

Penne alla vodka – Not Italian

I love this dish! You can’t go wrong with pasta and a tomato-based sauce. It’s a little cloudy when it comes to the origins of this dish, but some say New York (U.S.A) and others say Italy. However, Italians rarely cooked with vodka or cream which leads me to believe it was an American creation.

Bruschetta – Oh yes, it’s Italian. 

Yummers! The delicious appetizer of crusty bread with a spread of olive oil, garlic, spices and tomatoes (that’s how I know it, anyway)…You can bet it’s Italian! They say many farm workers from Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria enjoyed eating toasted bread with garlic cloves and olive oil, especially after the olive harvest. Plus it’s simple and easy to make after a long day’s work.

Shrimp scampi – Noooooope

Scampi means “langoustine” or refers to small lobster-like crustaceans in Italian, which are often boiled or grilled. Italian immigrants couldn’t get these in the U.S., so they used shrimp instead. That said, it’s apparently not Italiano but it’s pretty close.

Eggplant parmesan – Yes

I’m not a huge fan of eggplant, but when I eat eggplant it’s eggplant parmesan! This dish originates back to the 1800s in Naples, the Campanian countryside, Sicily and Calabria where eggplant is grown. It is believed that the word is derived from palmigiana, Sicilian for “shutters” because layered eggplant ressembles this.

Veal parmesan – Nuh uh

Eggplant parmesan is authentic, but veal parmesan is an American creation. It has to do with the immigration of Italians into the U.S., who started swapping veal for eggplant. Why? Coz meat!

Fettuccine alfredo – No Italian 

I knew from my experience in Italy that this was definitely NOT an authentic dish. I ordered it hoping it would be one or the best things I ever tasted but it was weird and came with peas. Plus I discovered that it’s an American creation based off of the Roman restauranteur, Alfredo di Lelio, who originally used buttered pasta with parmesan for this dish.

Source | Food Network Magazine February 2017


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting info, Rini …It’s hard to believe fettuccini alfredo is not an Italian dish. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rini says:

      I know. I had to triple check that because it shocked me as well. Lol It is created by an Italian in Italy, but strangely enough it isn’t well known around Italy.


  2. Rini, I love this post! I am completely obsessed with Italian cuisine. Well, all things Italian really. Looking through your list I was extremely happy to see that my favourites – Eggplant Parmigiana and Bruschetta are definitely authentic. And I’m with you on the Penne alla vodka – unlikely to be an Italian creation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      Thanks Tracey! Italian food is so good. I wish I could eat it more often, but I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How enlightening! Shrimp scampi is my favorite, I never knew it wasn’t Italian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      Thanks Courtney! Indeed. Many shocked me as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. annika says:

    So interesting! I am surprised that a restaurant in Italy would serve Fettuccine alfredo then!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      I know, it’s strange. It was like one in a million because I don’t recall it being widely available at the time. I haven’t been to Italy in years so perhaps things have changed since then. Being a touristy area, perhaps someone in Italy took note about the recipe and decided to bring it to Italy…because, afterall, though not authentically made in Italy fettuccine alfredo is normally delicious! 😀


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