10 Italian Food That Doesn’t Exist in Italy

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When we speak about Italian vs Italian American food, there’s a lot to discuss. It’s a topic that Italians get really irritated about, since they have good food, and they know what good food means in Italy. Also, the Italian food list of real Italian food, and not the Italian American food is quite traditional, and people do not appreciate if their traditional dishes are made in a different way. Within this post, we’ll discuss foods that dont exist in Italy, so the fake Italian food. What are some Italian foods and Italian food names that you should know about? Famous Italian food that you can’t find in Italy. But also, we’ll discuss who invented meatballs, and the Italian American cuisine along with Italian American dishes. You’ll learn which are some popular Italian dishes that you won’t find in Italy, and I’ll also answer questions about which country invented Spaghetti, where did garlic bread originate, as well as where did chicken parmesan originate from! Let’s dive in!

Italian food that doesn’t exist in Italy – famous Italian food

Did you know that there are many foods that dont exist in Italy and they do under the “Italian” label in other countries? This, we in Italy call fake Italian food. Some of the below dishes are actually some of the best Italian American recipes and some of the most famous Italian American dishes. However, this Italian food list contains famous Italian food that is not to be found in Italy. Or they are, but the original, traditional version!

Let us discover where did Alfredo sauce originate from, and what’s the difference between Italian vs Italian American food! Also, we’ll see some popular Italian dishes that don’t exist in Italy, and we’ll put under the microscope Italian vs Italian American food! If you want to see some Italian recipes, check out some of our favorites like the Penne with Tuna, or the Gramigna alla Salsiccia!

Italian American food

So here’s the thing… Some Italian American food is not traditional in Italy, therefore Italians from Italy don’t recognize them as their own. The below list will show you some favorites of Italian American cuisine. We’ll speak about who invented meatballs, and where did Alfredo sauce originate from.

Also, we’ll discuss Italian American dishes and the difference between Italian vs Italian American food. You’ll see some practices that differ when it comes to pasta in Italy vs America too. And of course, we’ll see where did garlic bread originate from!

Pasta in Italy vs America – Italian American food vs Italian food

1. Spaghetti with meatballs

Italian American food vs Italian food

So here’s the first of foods that dont exist in Italy While Spaghetti and Meatballs are some of the best Italian American recipes, it’s not at all on the real Italian food list. So who invented meatballs? And who invented spaghetti and meatballs as Italian American food?

Well, I just said it. Spaghetti with meatballs is an Italian American invention. We’ve seen it in Lady & Trump, and many other movies as well as marketing materials. I will say it again though, that Spaghetti and Meatballs are fake Italian food. Italians do not recognize this as their own, and it is definitely an Italian American dish, that in Italy isn’t served.

The difference between Italian vs Italian American food is first, that meatballs are not served with spaghetti. They are eaten in Italy too, as in many other countries, but it’s not done with tomato sauce and spaghetti. The second difference is pasta in Italy vs America. Even if we’d be making home Spaghetti with meatballs, we would dip the spaghetti in the sauce before serving, and not serve it on top of it. And when we put it that way, why do meatballs when we’ve got ragu?

2. Garlic bread

 foods that dont exist in Italy

Another from the Italian food list, that’s marketed as famous Italian food, but it is not real Italian food. Not just that garlic brad isn’t a thing in Italy, but most of the popular Italian authentic dishes have no garlic inside. Garlic, as it is, isn’t much used as an ingredient in Italy.

Even if Garlic bread is one of the foods that dont exist in Italy, I personally do love it! I don’t care if it’s Italian or Italian American food, let me eat my garlic bread! Anyhow, Garlic bread is considered one of the Italian American dishes. If you’re asking where did garlic bread originate from, the answer is Italy, but today is known food called garlic bread is definitely not Italian.

If people in Italy want to eat bread in an authentic way, they will add some high-quality extra virgin olive oil on top, or tomatoes, or cheese, but that’s already a bruschetta. And if you check out our bruschetta recipes, you won’t see much garlic there either. In each case, the garlic bread that you buy or order in the US is not something that you’d see people eat in Italy in restaurants or at home.

3. Caesar salad

real italian food

So what are some Italian foods? Well, the Caesar salad is definitely on between the Italian food names. Not even if you’re asking if this salad is Italian American food vs Italian food. Caesar salad is not originating from Italy!

You could find Caesar salad is touristy restaurants, but because it’s a popular dish around the world, and not because it’s Italian. So where is the Caesar salad originating from? From Mexico!

Yes, you head right, a cook called Caesar Cardini made it in 1924 in Mexico, and it became popular after that around the world!

4. Chicken Parmigiana

fake Italian food

Okay, so our next of the foods that dont exist in Italy is the Chicken Parmigiana. When it comes to fake Italian food, the Chicken Parmigiana is definitely one of my favorites, and I’d risk saying that it’s one of the best Italian American recipes out there! If you’re wondering about Italian food names that are similar, and it’s something that is actually real Italian food, the eggplant Parmigiana.

Chicken Parmigiana was created by Italian immigrants in the United States who mixed American cuisine with the Italian one. Due to that, this chicken dish is definitely a creation of Italian American cuisine. So if you’re asking where did chicken Parmesan originate, the answer is the United States.

The difference between Italian vs Italian American food, in this case, is, that in Italy, we do not mix chicken with pasta. So if you’re looking for a highlight about pasta in Italy vs America. This is definitely one to remember. We do not mix chicken with pasta! Eggplant Parmigiana is popular in many regions of Italy, and it’s served either as an appetizer or as a side dish.

5. Penne alla Vodka

penne alla vodka

Penne alla Vodka, is one of the foods that dont exist in Italy! If you’re asking what are some Italian foods, famous Italian food actually, well, this is not one of them! Another great example of differences between pasta in Italy vs America. First of all, vodka is a spirit with not much taste. It’s like you’d be adding simple clear alcohol to your pasta. I know that alcohol and chili work well together in cuisine, but in Italy, this combination is not accepted, not popular, and not much preferred by anybody.

In Italian American cuisine, Penne alla Vodka is much more popular than in Italy. Though the origin is unclear, the words are that it was probably invented in Bologna, Italy. Though, not even I, who lives just 1 hour from Bologna ever seen this dish on a menu anywhere in the region, or the country.

6. Fetuccine Alfredo – or anything with that Alfredo sauce

And the famous Alfredo Sauce… Let’s talk about another fake Italian food from our Italian food list. Alfredo Sauce is sold as a famous Italian food, but it is not real Italian food. However, it is a big favorite of Italian American cuisine! But, where did Alfredo sauce originate? Let’s see another of the popular Italian dishes or more specifically the Italian American food vs Italian food.

The Alfredo sauce is a big one, though Italians deny recognizing it as traditional Italian food. Originally the Alfredo sauce was invented in a restaurant in Rome by Alfredo di Lelio around 1892. Even though it was invented in Rome, it never became popular on the Italian peninsula.

As I already highlighted, and I will do again, in Italy we do every sauce from scratch and serve it fresh. Also, a pasta dish covered in butter and cheese is actually way too heavy and we don’t like heavy food. In Italy, we don’t consume many milky things, or milky coffee after lunchtime, so eating something that’s 95% made of milk products is just too much.

7. Rainbow Cookies

Another food that doesn’t exist in Italy is the Rainbow Cookies. This is 100% Italian American food that’s part of the Italian American cuisine! If you’re asking what are some Italian foods, well, the Rainbow cookies are not. Rainbow cookies are creations of Italian Americans who immigrated to the states in the 1900s.

The Tricolore cookies honor their home country, and that’s why they have the colors of the Italian flag. This was a way for Italian Americans to honor their home country. If you’re roaming Italian restaurants, Rainbow cookies could be found in the desserts among other Italian American dishes.

8. Pasta alla Carbonara with fresh cream?!?

what are some Italian foods

Are you asking what are some Italian foods? You’re looking for traditional Italian food names? On our Italian food list, with famous Italian food that’s actually not Italian, you can read now about the famous pasta Carbonara! When it comes to Italian American dishes or Italian vs Italian American food, the Carbonara is a really sensitive topic!

Real Italian food is considered the food that’s socially accepted and consumed in Italy, that’s also originating from this country. Pasta in Italy vs America when it comes to Carbonara is like they are two completely different dishes. The traditional Carbonara is done with 4 ingredients, which are eggs, guanciale (or pancetta), pasta, and cheese. Obviously salt and pepper, but that we use to almost everything.

The original Carbonara is a very poor dish, simple food that was invented during the 2nd world war when access to food was hard. Therefore, the Italian Carbonara doesn’t have ham, bacon, hot dog sausage, and it definitely does not have onions, parsley, or fresh cream in it! Not to mention the Carbonara sauces that are sold in the shops…

9. Pepperoni Pizza

pepperoni pizza

Let’s say Hello to one of my favorite types of pizza in the US! When it comes to the best Italian American recipes and pizza, I vote Pepperoni! The Pepperoni Pizza is indeed a famous Italian food, but it is actually Italian American food originating from Italian American cuisine.

The pizza with spicy sausage or spicy salami, cheese, and tomato sauce is indeed an existing pizza in Italy, and we love it! However, our version, which is one of the most popular Italian dishes has just very few slices of sausage on it, fresh mozzarella, and everything – like on every Italian pizza – is kept simple.

The sauce is made with fresh tomato or tomato puree. It doesn’t have extra spices and it doesn’t have 8 different toppings. A pepperoni pizza doesn’t have many ingredients indeed, and you will find a different version of it in Italy, such as the Piazza con Salsiccia Piccante which usually has different names, such as the Vesuvio in Sorrento, but it’s not a pepperoni pizza anyway.

10. Hawaiian Pizza

Another on our list of foods that dont exist in Italy. Pizza indeed is real Italian food, but Hawaiian Pizza is not. We do not put pineapple on a pizza in Italy. Pineapple is a big No-No here. The Hawaiian Pizza comes to the Italian American food vs Italian food. We don’t mix sweet fruits with salty ingredients.

The pineapple is perfect for eating fruits after dinner, but not as dinner. Originally Hawaiian Pizza was invented in the 1960s in Canada, and though it is really popular in many countries around the world, in the birthplace of the pizza it isn’t.

11. Italian Dressing

real italian food

This is the cherry on top of fake Italian food. Italian dressing? I mean, that’s definitely not real Italian food, but Italian American food – or well not just American because in each European country we keep seeing the Italian Dressing.

In the Italian American cuisine though I know for a fact that the Italian dressing is really popular. As you’ve been asking where did Alfredo sauce originate, you might want to ask why doesn’t contain any of the popular Italian dishes Italian Dressing in Italy?

Easy, because in Italy, such a thing as Italian dressing doesn’t exist. If you’re asking for dressing in Italy, you will get extra virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice, or balsamic vinegar, depending on what you’ve ordered it for. You won’t get any creamy or tomato-based dressing with added spices and flavor enhancers. With salads, the maximum that’s consumed is a Greek Salad. No spiced dressings in Italy I’m afraid! We rather do simple, fresh ingredients – that also help our health, and don’t have a big impact on our normal weight.

12. Marinara Sauce

authentic italian food

When you ask what are some Italian foods, you might get the answer including the Marinara Sauce. The Marinara sauce is indeed on the Italian food list, and it is indeed a famous Italian food, but as Marinara Sauce it is mainly popular in the Italian American cuisine,

Now, Marinara sauce originates from Italy, but here we just called it a simple tomato sauce that we make fresh when cooking. The difference between Italian vs Italian American food is mostly that we love to do everything with high-quality ingredients, and more importantly with fresh ingredients!

So we won’t go to the grocery store to buy Marinara sauce, but we will make it from scratch at home when we are cooking something that it is needed to. Or making pizza. In the US and countries outside of Italy it’s sold as ready-to-eat Marinara sauce, which is fine, but it’s not fresh. And if it’s not fresh, it is not Italian!

Wrapping up over 10 fake Italian food – Italian vs Italian American food

Okay, so now that we’ve discussed the best Italian American recipe, the foods that dont exist in Italy, and we’ve revealed Italian food names within our Italian food list of famous Italian food that you can’t find in Italy. If you want to learn about real Italian food, we’ve got that topic covered too! For now, this is what we’ve wanted to share about Italian American food, and who invented meatballs, or where did Alfredo sauce originate from. We’ve got covered 10 dishes of Italian American cuisine, some of the most popular Italian American dishes, and more!

I have answered some of the questions like which country invented Spaghetti, or where did garlic bread originate, or who invented spaghetti and meatballs, but also where did chicken parmesan originate. So I really hope now you’ve got great knowledge about pasta in Italy vs America, and what’s the difference between Italian American food vs Italian food!

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