Italian food receives more fanfare than any other ethnic cuisine for good reason. From pizza to pasta, gelato and wine, Italian food simply can’t be beat. Let’s take a look at some facts about these popular culinary creations that most people are unaware of.
Real Italian Pasta is Cooked al Dente
Traditional Italian pasta is rather rigid compared to American versions. Italians cook pasta “al dente”, meaning that it is removed from the cooking pan and served once it has reached its ideal texture. Plenty of Italian chefs will throw a few pieces of cooked pasta against the wall to see if they stick. Once sticking occurs, the pasta is ready to eat. Aside from tasting better, al dente pasta is also significantly easier for the digestive system to process than the overcooked pasta that most amateur chefs make.
Traditional Italian Pizza Features Thin Crust
The average American thinks that authentic pizza has medium to thick crust. This is the result of American cooks manipulating the traditional pizza recipe into their own unique versions. The truth is that the vast majority of pizzas served in the United States are nowhere near authentic. Real Italian pizza is distinguished from most American versions by its comparatively thin crust.
Speaking of Pizza, Italians Like it Simple
Authentic Italian pizza is referred to as pizza margherita. It is quite basic, featuring dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil. Countries across the globe have altered this simple recipe into fancy versions that betray the food’s roots. Foodies will also find it interesting to know that pepperoni pizza is an American twist on traditional Italian pizza. In Italy, “peperoni” as they spell it, actually means bell pepper.
Fettuccine Alfredo is not Authentic Italian Fare
Contrary to popular opinion, Fettuccine Alfredo does not represent traditional Italian food. Legitimate examples of Italian pasta dishes are lasagna, ravioli and spaghetti with meatballs. Those creamy and cheesy Alfredo dishes certainly taste good yet they are primarily served in Italian restaurants in the United states rather than Italy. Few know that this dish debuted in 1914 when Alfredo di Lelio trademarked it. The dish exploded in popularity at his New York restaurant and was soon copied by chefs throughout the United States. Yet few Italian chefs in the homeland added it to their menus.
Italy’s Espresso is Quite Simple
A considerable percentage of Italy’s population consumes espresso. Many drink it for breakfast and after lunch/dinner. Yet true espresso does not contain flavor shots like those added to most American versions of the coffee. Real espresso does not contain milk either. If you order a latte version of anything in Italy, you would likely be served with a glass of plain milk.