10 Favorite “Italian” Dishes That Aren’t Authentic Italian

Italy is world-famous for its cuisine. From fresh pasta and pizza to incredible wine, Italy has the perfect recipe for delicious food. Nowadays, you can get Italian food everywhere in the world. But, there are quite a few favorite Italian dishes that aren’t authentic Italian at all.

As we all know, in the 19th and early 20th century, there was massive emigration out of Italy, mostly to the Americas. These Italian immigrants took their culinary culture with them and, at least at first, they rather stubbornly stuck to their gastronomic ways. As always happens with immigration, dishes change when they get to a different country. The food adapts to the tastes of the people who live there, and therefore the ingredients available.

Despite their Italian roots, these dishes don’t represent today’s Italian dining and, in that regard, they can’t be considered authentic. So many dishes you’ll have thought were classic Italian dishes are, in fact, adaptations. Thus they are very hard to seek out in Italy itself. In other words, what we think of as “classic Italian” is not actually from Italy at all.

But as the quest for authenticity in food becomes ever more popular, it’s good to know where some of our “Italian” favorites actually come from. Read on to find out the 10 favorite Italian dishes that aren’t authentic Italian.

10 Favorite Italian dishes that aren’t authentic Italian

1. Spaghetti with meatballs

The classic American perception of “spaghetti meatballs” is actually no traditional Italian dish. Most likely, Italian immigrants invented this staple dish in NY during the first 1900s. Unable to find good quality tomatoes, they added meat, which was cheap and readily available, to the sauce in order to make it sweeter and thicker.

The fact is most pasta dishes are not topped with meat. In Italy, the type of meatballs you can find are “polpettes”, but they’re very small, and eaten as a standalone meal or with soup. But definitely not with pasta. If you find any of these dishes in Italy, it’s because they were brought back to Italy from the U.S.

“Polpette” is a really famous recipe dish in Italy. They adjust from town to town as far as ingredients, size and recipe are concerned. While we’re on the subject of meat and pasta, chicken is something you’ll never see atop pasta in Italy, it’s not a very popular meat in general.

2. Caesar salad

The well-known Caesar salad isn’t technically Italian. Even though it was created by an Italian restaurant owner in the 1920s, he was residing in Tijuana, Mexico at the time. Here’s the history of Caesar Salad.

It is a green salad of romaine lettuce, garlic, croutons, Parmesan cheese, eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. Despite the fact that the flavors in Caesar salad meet the Italian palate, this dish is unknown in Italy except for a few restaurants that cater to a North American clientele.

3. Chicken (or veal) Parmigiana

Chicken Parmigiana with breaded chicken cutlets, marinara sauce, parmesan and melted mozzarella cheese may be a classic Italian-American food. Eggplant parm originated in Sicily and Italian Americans modified it to include heartier ingredients like chicken, veal, and meatballs.

What is Italian, or at least it was born in Southern Italy, is “melanzane alla parmigiana“. Eggplants fried and layered with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan, then baked. This is the recipe in a nutshell.

4. Penne alla Vodka

The sauce of this pasta dish consists of tomato, onion, prosciutto, cream and vodka be hard-pressed to seek out cream sauces far south of Milan, including in Rome. So if you’re trying to find a dish like penne alla vodka — which incorporates a creamy sauce — at a Roman trattoria, you’re already off-base. Instead try: a simple “pasta al pomodoro” — it’s basically all the good bits of penne alla vodka, minus the cream and vodka.

5. Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is an American invention. The whole idea of smothering bread in either olive oil with lots of garlic was invented in the USA in the early 1940s. The closest Italian thing to it is bruschetta al pomodoro, which means thin slices with heaps of fresh tomatoes. Recently, restaurants in both America and Italy may also add onions and tomatoes for an even tastier appetizer.

6. Pepperoni Pizza

The word ‘pepperoni‘ actually means bell peppers, so if you ask for a pizza with pepperoni, chances are that you will receive pizza with bell peppers.  Pepperoni pizza as we know it is almost never served in Italy, except in touristy areas. In contrast, in Italian, what Americans call “pepperoni” is referred to as salami.

If you want a pepperoni pizza, you should order “una pizza alla diavola, or, a pizza of the devil, (spicy food here is usually “of the devil,” or sometimes arrabbiata, “angry”) which comes with “salame piccante” on it (spicy salami). Also instead of pepperoni pizza, try pizza topped with prosciutto. It is a much more common topping than ‘pepperoni.’

7. Italian dressing

Italian salad dressings are incredibly popular in the United States. But in Italy, people rarely dress their salads. To tell you the truth Italians don’t even know the concept of a premixed dressing that you can buy in a store.

Instead, people in Italy eat their salads with olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, salt, and sometimes balsamic vinegar at the table. That’s it.

8. Marinara sauce

Marinara sauce is a tomato sauce usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions.  It can include the addition of capers, olives, spices, and a dash of wine as possible ingredients in its many variations. But its an invention of Italian-American immigrants working with ingredients that were available in America. In Italy, though, marinara usually means a shellfish sauce. Instead of marinara sauce, try ordering pasta al pomodoro or penne all’arrabbiata for a similar taste of American marinara in Italy.

9. Lobster Fra Diavolo and Shrimp Scampi

These wonderful seafood pasta dishes are American. “Lobster Fra Diavolo”—a pasta dish made with lobster, sometimes other seafood, that contains crushed red pepper to make it spicy. It isn’t originally Italian for two reasons: It’s made with Maine lobster, not the Mediterranean variety found in Italy, and Italians don’t eat pasta as a main course.

“Shrimp scampi” is a dish where large shrimp are sauteéd with garlic, wine, butter, herbs, and red pepper flakes, then served over pasta or rice. It is a staple in Italian-American restaurants, most likely the descendant of an Italian recipe that involves langoustines sauteéd in wine, olive oil, onion, and garlic. Langoustines are a type of tiny lobster, called scampi in Italian. Italian-American cooks adapted the recipe but kept the old name.

10. Spaghetti bolognese

Bolognese sauce (from Bologna) is a real Italian sauce, made with ground veal or beef, tomatoes (usually), garlic, and other ingredients. But no Italian would ever eat it with spaghetti. It needs flat noodles, like tagliatelli or fettuccine. Italians always use tagliatelle. Why? Because the sauce and the meat adhere better to flatter pasta shape, rather than thin spaghetti.

In conclusion, these are the ten favorite Italian dishes that shock people the most when they realise they are not authentic Italian. Whether from Italy or Italian American, we love Italian food!


We are one of the premier Italian Restaurants in Allen, TX, offering home-made
traditional Italian cuisine.  Come visit us today at: 121-B N. Greenville Allen, TX
75002, Phone: 972-390-2189.

Panettone: A taste of Italian Christmas

Christmas is almost here and people from all over the world are preparing to celebrate the festive season with their own distinct traditions. Some people at Christmas put up a tree and decorate it, others prefer to make the Nativity scene, someone turns on a thousand lights and other people put a garland out of the door. Someone celebrate Christmas Eve, others have lunch on 25th December. The adults exchange greetings and children wait for the gifts from Santa Claus. At Christmas everyone has their own habits to make the holiday special, but there is one thing in common: on the Italian tables the panettone can’t miss! With its soft dough, fragrant, raisins and candied fruit, it welcomes the Christmas season.

This classic Italian sweet bread is a favorite treat on Christmas Day. Although the delicacy originated in Milan, it is now a traditional holiday treat in both Italy and in the world. But ever wondered how panettone is made? Let’s discover together the history and the making of right here!

Panettone: The history of Italy’s favourite Christmas sweet

There are several legends behind the origins of panetton. These legends, although not very reliable and thus quite useless to establish with precision the origins of this Christmas dessert, undoubtedly have the merit of greatly enhancing its charm.

Many different legends

Panettone hails from Milan and the most famous legend associated with panettone takes place in the 15th century at the court of Ludovico Il Moro at Christmas time. The court’s chef was tasked with preparing a sumptuous Christmas dinner for the local nobility. However, he forgot the dessert in the oven, causing it to burn.

Desperate, he didn’t know what to do, when one of his helpers, Toni, came up with a solution. He said that in the morning he had prepared a dessert with what was left in the pantry – some flour, butter, eggs, citron zest and raisins. The chef was welcome to use it. Hesitant, the chef brought the dessert to the table and spied on the guests’ reaction from behind a curtain.

When the Duke and its invitees asked the name of the delicious pastry they had, the cook said: “El pan de Toni” (Tony’s bread). And from “pan de Toni,” a legendary cake was born: Panettone.

Another nice story, though unlikely, is that which recounts the love of a young boy, who to impress Algisa, the beautiful daughter of a baker, created this sweet and fragrant bread.

Whatever its origins, we do know that a decree issued in 1395 permitted all bakeries in Milan to make the so-called ‘Pan del ton’ at Christmas: a wheat bread that was only accessible to poorer members of the community during the season’s festive Christmas meal.

Panettone: a sweet symbol of Christmas

It was in Italy, during the 19th century, that it began to be called “Panettone“ to the traditional sweet dough that was prepared on festive dates. The translation would be something like “big bread“. Then it was further enhanced with the addition of nourishing ingredients like eggs and sugar. Raisins, on the other hand, were always a staple ingredient because, according to common belief, they symbolize prosperity for the coming year.

But it was only in 1919 that Panettone became widely available in Italy, thanks to Angelo Motta that started producing it on a large scale. Furthermore, he introduced the triple leaving, giving the cake the tall dome shape. Until that time, its shape was flatter and its dough more compact.

A few years later, his competitor Gioacchino Alemagna adapted the recipe, turning the artisanal sweet bread into industrial production. Panettone became cheaper, allowing everyone to have one on the table for Christmas in Italy and to all those Italians who started seeking a new life in other countries worldwide.

Since the 1950s, the panettone of the large distribution can be found throughout Italy, while in Milan remain many traditional artisan laboratories. Today it has acquired international fame and is also exported as a sweet symbol of Christmas in many countries.

Panettone, a product protected by law

In 2003, the tradition of panettone is regulated by a product specification that sets the ingredients and their minimum percentages. The true traditional panettone must have on its packaging the Pasticceri Committee of the Milanese Tradition‘s logo and the inscription “Pastry product, to be consumed fresh by …” in addition to the indication “without preservatives”. 

The traditional panettone ingredients provided by the product specification are: water, flour from producers recognized by the Committee, sugar, fresh eggs and/or pasteurized yolks, milk, cocoa butter, butter, sultanate raisins, candied orange peel, candied cedar, natural yeast, and salt. Also other permitted ingredients are honey, malt, and extract of malt, vanilla and natural aromas.

Today there are very specific rules for a confectionery product to be called “Panettone”. A ministerial decree dated 22 July 2005 establishes the ingredients and characteristics of some traditional Italian desserts including the panettone. The classic Milanese must be soft and obtained by natural fermentation from sour dough. It must be made with wheat flour, sugar and eggs, but with a higher percentage of egg yolks than egg whites. Then raisins, candied citrus peel, butter, natural yeast and salt.

How is it made?

Panettone is a traditional Italian sweets. Its leavening is natural and its soft paste is enriched with candied fruit, orange, cedar, and raisins. In addition, it has a similar texture to cake, but is definitely a bread. It’s one of the lightest, fluffiest loaves of sweet bread you’ll ever have the pleasure of tasting. This is because above all, it’s extremely eggy and can take up to three days to prepare properly.

Moreover panettone has a domed shape, with a soft and airy interior beneath a dark exterior. It’s prepared by baking a leavened dough made of flour, water, eggs, butter, with the addition of raisin and little pieces of candied fruit. The cake dough requires several hours to make because it must be cured in a way similar to sourdough, rising and falling three times before being baked.

Making a traditional panettone the Italian way is a lengthy procedure, but necessary to get top results, and all ingredients must be of excellent quality. The proving process alone can take several days, allowing the flavours to mature and the distinctive fluffy texture to develop. It is then baked in precise temperature-controlled ovens and, straight after cooking, hung upside-down to cool, which stretches the warm cake, giving it its characteristic dome shape.

Today panettone can be eaten “pure”, as is traditional, but also filled in various ways. Among the various creams used to enrich it, the top choices are chocolate, custard and gianduia (chocolate and hazelnut). In any case, whether it is low or high, with raisins or candied fruit, covered with chocolate or served with cream, the Panettone is still the star of our Christmas!

You can’t miss having a slice of this traditional sweet bread if you decide to celebrate Christmas the Italian way.

Here we leave you an easy recipe for panetton so that you´re inspired to prepare it with your family this Christmas.

Citrus Panettone Recipe

By Deborah Mele

The recipe following takes about 1 hour to prepare and cooks in 1 hour. Yield: makes 1 large or two small loaves. You can use special Panettone paper forms, or an appropriately high sided casserole or soufflé pans. Lemons and oranges add a citrus note to traditional Panettone.

  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 Cup Warm water
  • 1/2 Cup Unbleached All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Golden Raisins
  • Juice Of 1 Large Orange
  • 5 Tablespoons Soft Butter
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Fiori di Sicilia (Sicilian Lemon Extract), Or 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract And 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 5+ Cups All-purpose Flour
  • Finely Chopped Zest Of 1 Orange
  • Finely Chopped Zest Of 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 Cup Candied Citron
  1. In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water, and stir to mix.
  2. Add the flour and mix until you have a loose dough.
  3. Cover, and let this sponge rise for at least 4 hours, but no more than 8.
  4. While you are waiting on your sponge, place the orange juice and raisins in a small pot.
  5. Bring the juice to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover the pot and let the raisins plump in the warm juice.
  6. After your sponge has risen, place 5 cups of the flour onto a bread board or counter and make a crater in the center.
  7. In a bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, extracts, sponge, grated zests and 1/4 cup of warm water.
  8. Strain the raisins, and add the juice to the egg mixture.
  9. Begin to slowly pour the liquid mixture into the center of the flour, and using a fork begin to mix the flour into the liquid from the sides.
  10. Continue until you have added all of the liquid.
  11. Add the raisins and citron and begin to knead with your hands for about 8 minutes or until you have a smooth, elastic dough, using a little additional flour if your mixture is a little wet.
  12. Butter a large bowl, and place the Panettone dough into the bowl.
  13. Cover, and let sit to rise in a warm place for about 6 hours.
  14. Butter your chosen mold and then punch down the dough.
  15. Knead once again for a few minutes and then shape into a ball.
  16. Place in your prepared pan, cover and let rise again for 45 minutes.
  17. While it is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  18. Cut an X or slash into the top of the Panettone, and bake it until it is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  19. If you notice that the Panettone is browning too much while baking, place a sheet of foil over the top.
  20. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  21. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight bag until you are ready to enjoy it.

Good appetite and happy holidays!



We are one of the premier Italian Restaurants in Allen, TX, offering home-made
traditional Italian cuisine.  Come visit us today at: 121-B N. Greenville Allen, TX
75002, Phone: 972-390-2189.

History of cannoli-The mystery origin

Cannoli is an Italian pastry that most people absolutely enjoy. Although cannolis are one of the most popular desserts throughout Italy and the world, not many people know the history of the cannoli. While it may seem like a simple pastry item, cannoli is laden with sweet history. So, let’s discover the history of cannoli and many curiosities about this delicious specialty.

History of cannoli Siciliani

The history of the cannoli is a reflection of the variety of cultures and people that, throughout the centuries, have inhabited Sicily. As a strong symbol representing Italian heritage, the cannoli has a unique and rich history. The traditional version of the cannoli originated in Palermo. In this time, Sicily was under Arab rule and making traditional food stand out was important for the locals. So, many accounts point to the Sicilian city of Palermo, but the filling may have first been created by ancient Arabic people.

Who invented the First Cannoli?

The exact origin of cannoli isn’t entirely clear. There are two tales surrounding the origin of cannolis. The first one takes place in an Arab prince’s harem inside his castle during the Arabic domination of the island. The emir’s many concubines spent their time creating luscious meals and delicious desserts, among them a cylinder-shaped pastry case filled with ricotta, almonds, and honey. The second tale takes place in a convent, outside of the castle, where nuns concocted a new type of pastry made of a shell called “scoria” with a filling of ricotta, sugar, chocolate, and almonds to celebrate Carnevale, which is a celebration that takes place in all of Italy before Lent begins. This sweet treat is now available all year round. 

Digging into the mysterious history of cannoli Siciliani

Whether it was concubines or nuns, historians believe that both legends have a seed of the truth and that the creation of the cannoli took place in or around the city of Caltanissetta between 827 and 1091. Whatever the origin, the treats became associated with Sicilian Carnevale as a fertility symbol. In addition, many of the ingredients used in a cannoli are of Arabic origin like sugar cane and almonds. Wherever it started, it had traveled to the United States by the late 19th century, where it caught fire and became an American favorite.

What’s in a Name?

In Italian, cannoli is a plural name whose singular form is cannolo. It is a diminutive of canna, which means a cane-like reed such as sugar cane. The form cannolis as a very rare plural form, but also cannolo is widely accepted as a singular form. These delicious desserts are now a favourite all over Italy where they are known as cannoli Sicilliani meaning Sicilian cannoli.

What does a river reed have to do with a pastry? The key is the shape. Early pastry chefs used to use these reeds to shape their dough before putting them in oil to fry. 

Nowadays, for hygiene reasons you won’t find cannoli made with river reeds – even in the most authentic Italian restaurant. Canes have been replaced by special steel cylinders. They are probably more healthy and practical. Chefs at Italian Villa use metal tubes, which are a lot more sanitary.

What’s in a Shape?

According to legend, the tubular shape is a sign of fertility, of a generating force and pushing away evil influences. There are cannoli as thin as a cigarette (aptly called sigaretta) and as big as a fist, but we found the dried cannelloni produced an ideal size that are easy to handle and, more importantly, just the right size to warrant seconds.

How to make cannoli?

A traditional cannoli recipe consists of a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough. The shell is made of flour, butter, sugar, and a number of other ingredients. This dough is rolled into ovals and wrapped around a dough ring and fried to produce a crisp bubbled shell “scorch”. The essential bubbles are created by adding a little vinegar into the dough mixture and because it evaporates quickly during the frying, thus creating this all important texture on the tube.

This is then filled with sweet creamy ricotta and dusted with sugar. The flavours can range from lemon, almonds, honey, candied fruits to pistachio. The filling is where the cannoli gets most of its flavor. In addition, the size of the cannoli varies as much as the filing’s flavorings. The pastry can be as small as the finger-sized cannulicchi to fist-sized offerings from Piana degli Albanesi, a town near Palermo.

Cannoli making is serious business in Sicily and for bakers, the quality and standards of their bakery can be judged solely on the basis of how good their cannoli is.

Cannoli Recipe Variations

The variations in cannolis existed even then but it wasn’t till the 20th century that cannoli had greater reach and even greater variations. Italians immigrating to America during the early 1900s made adaptions to the original cannoli recipe. This was mainly due to a lack of ingredients, however it sparked the beginning of the great range we have available today.

Around the world, there are many variations to the traditional cannoli recipe. Such as rolling the tubes in chocolate and pistachio nuts or filling them with chocolate-flavoured ricotta, strawberry, and pecan caramel.

Despite the variants, the structure has remained the same. Despite their origin, Cannolis have endured for over one thousand years it is because this palatable pastry has met the taste of every epoch.

At Italian Villa, we also specialize in making homemade traditional Italian desserts like cannolis. You don’t have to travel to Italy to enjoy the best cannoli of your life!  Like the rest of our menu, our cannoli are part of a long tradition of Italian excellence.  One bite will suffice to make you experience the Sicilian way of life. Visit us and discover this delicious tradition made by our chefs.



We are one of the premier Italian Restaurants in Allen, TX, offering home-made
traditional Italian cuisine.  Come visit us today at: 121-B N. Greenville Allen, TX
75002, Phone: 972-390-2189.

World Pasta Day-History and Celebration

Carb and sauce lovers rejoice! October 25th is World Pasta day! We have been eating pasta since at least 5,000 B.C. However, this delightful holiday was first celebrated in 1995, when 40 International pasta makers gathered together for the World Pasta Congress, held in Rome. Since then, World Pasta Day is an annual feast celebrated on October 25th of every year to pay tribute to one of the most delicious Italian cuisine available in different forms called the pasta.

This commemorative day is organized each year by the International Pasta Organization to draw attention to pasta as a nutritious and affordable a food that can be enjoyed in more than 600 shapes and an infinite number of preparations. World Pasta Day promotes eating pasta and its culinary importance in the world of food. Whether you prefer rigatoni, angel hair, or pappardelle, you’ll love this holiday!

World Pasta Day History

The word pasta actually translates to paste in Italian. Despite this fact, pasta may actually have its roots in China instead of Italy. Food historians believe modern-day pasta came from ancient Asian noodles. Some believe that Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China. This probably isn’t true. The International Pasta Organisation reckons this is a myth based on the plot of a popular movie from the 1930s. They say pasta dates to Italy’s ancient Etruscan civilisations and Sicilians had been making it for over two centuries before Polo returned from his travels to the Far East.

Pasta is a traditional Italian cuisine. It is an Italian word for dough. The first reference of pasta date back to 1154 in Sicily. In addition, pasta is a simple and easy to cook food. Thanks to pasta’s affordability and long shelf life, it is the staple food for the people of Italy.

According to historical accounts, Spanish explorers brought pasta to America. Thomas Jefferson is credited for making pasta popular in this country. While in Paris from 1784 to 1789, Jefferson ate a lot of macaroni. He thought it was so delicious, he brought two suitcases full of pasta back home with him. Pasta became even more common in the United States when Italian immigrants came here during the late 19th century.

The World Pasta Day holiday itself only recently began in 1995 when 40 pasta producers from around the world gathered to hold the first World Pasta Congress. Since then, diners around the world have joined forces each October to pay tribute to one of the most delicious and versatile foods ever.

World Pasta Day: Celebrations

Today, the IPO organizes World Pasta Day. Every year the International Pasta Organization (IPO) holds a variety of events throughout the world. The goal behind these events is to maximize the promotion of this nutritious and sustainable food.

Moreover during this special day of celebration, people make pasta dishes if they have time to. Others go to a fancy restaurant where they can eat their favorite pasta dishes. They also post on social media about their day of celebration and show to the world their favorite pasta meals.

How to Celebrate World Pasta Day

The following are the best things to do to make your celebration of the World Pasta Day as best as it can be:

Make a delicious pasta dish

One good idea for your celebration of this day is to make a delicious pasta dish. You can prepare it on your own for your lovable ones. Enjoy tasting and swapping pasta recipes. Also add some vegetables of your preference to make it an even healthier dish. Choose a homemade sauce as it tastes the best.  Enlist the help of a few friends if you’d like company.

Pasta day party

Pasta day party is another great way to arrange to celebrate the day. Host a pasta party and invite your friends and family to bring their favorite kinds o pasta. Prepare some of the different pasta varieties for them. Serve them hot and celebrate the day.

Share your pasta on social media

You can also take your celebration of this day on social media. You can, for instance, use the hashtag #WorldPastaDay to let your friends and followers know that you are also participating in the celebration of this day.

Go out to a pasta dinner

Another good idea for your celebration of this day is to eat out in a restaurant. You can go to a fancy restaurant with your friends and family and order your favorite pasta dish.Try a pasta dish you’ve never had before and enjoy every bite.

Why We Love Pasta

Pasta is really one of the world’s most favorite foods. It can be enjoyed as a main course, or as a side dish. Why we love pasta? We can mention a couple of aspects: from taste qualities and options for variations to health benefits, as well as the feelings and emotions it brings. Here is a bit more information for the reasons why so many people love pasta.

It’s quick and easy to cook  

One of the easiest dishes to cook is pasta. It cooks fast and easy and tastes good…. Less work, more reward. You like your pasta well cooked or al dente, you don’t have to be a master chef to rustle up a plate of pasta. If you go to a restaurant and order pasta with whatever products you may think of you shall not wait long to enjoy it. Moreover, the specialized Italian restaurants have master chefs who have adopted the preparation of such foods to its excellence. You can be sure that the pasta shall be served at your table very quickly and that you will have the possibility to start tasting it even quicker. 

It has Health Benefits

Besides being delicious, we know that pasta has plenty of health benefits. Pasta can help sustain energy throughout the day with its rich carb content. It also includes folic acid, and has a low glycemic index, which means that it is not likely to cause uncomfortable spikes in your blood sugar. Nutritionally, pasta can also be excellent – perfect for growing kids and all the family, especially if you go wholemeal. Moreover it is possible to be combined with products which shall be beneficial to your body and organism. Such products are for example spinach, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and many other vegetables. 

It’s so versatile

You can have it as an appetizer, side dish, or the main meal. It can also come as a salad or can be used for breakfast or even dessert! There are a thousand and one pasta recipes, it goes with meat and fish, it works wonders with any number of sauces… if you want to keep things lighter, you can toss it in olive oil.  The point is that there is a pasta dish to fit every mood and need. 

Endless options

In different parts of the world, pasta is referred in different names. There are over 600 shapes of pasta with different sizes and colours are available. Some of them include spaghetti, vermicelli, rotini, fusilli, tortellini, macaroni, linguini, conchiglie, fettucine, penne, and capellini. Some of the preferred options are the combinations with beef, salmon, cherry tomatoes, spinach, wild mushrooms, etc. Whichever one you choose you will not be mistaken for sure. In addition, fresh pasta is served with many different types of sauce, which make the food even tastier.

Therefore, World Pasta Day is celebrated on 25 October and on this day people enjoy pasta in different flavours with family, friends, etc. Many people love pasta and World Pasta Day is the perfect time to celebrate this love!

Choose Italian Villa Restaurant and enjoy tasty pasta, cozy atmosphere and perfect service! Come celebrate World Pasta Day with us in the most delicious way!



We are one of the premier Italian Restaurants in Allen, TX, offering home-made
traditional Italian cuisine. Come visit us today at: 121-B N. Greenville Allen, TX
75002, Phone: 972-390-2189

Italian Food Customs and Traditions You Need to Know

Italian food customs and traditions. Italian culture is steeped in the arts, family, architecture, music and food. Italians place a high premium on their food, and much emphasis is placed on what to eat, how to cook it, and when to eat it.  Food is one of the defining characteristics of Italian culture, and it is taken very seriously.

Italian food is not only delightful to the senses, but it is also authentic and has a unique identity you can’t get anywhere else. It is about originality, and tradition and this rings through in everything Italian.

Many people are passionate about Italian food, however some of them are not aware of the customs associated with the cuisine. Italian food customs are many and they vary throughout the peninsula but there is consensus over some rules of Italian food culture. Understanding the traditions is the key to truly enjoying your experience while partaking in these culinary delights. To illustrate here are some of the Italian food customs and traditions you need to know.

Italian Food Customs and Traditions: Eating like an Italian

For the Italians food is not considered mere nutrition, it is above all else pleasure. Here is a brief overview of Italian food customs and traditions.

Meal Timing

Timing of meals is crucial. Lunch is served at 1.00 PM and dinner at 8.00 PM. In northern Italy it can be a little earlier and a little later towards the south but don’t dream of eating at 4.00, the restaurant kitchens are closed until dinner time.

Italian Food Menu

A typical Italian meal begins with an antipasto (starter), followed by a primo (pasta, risotto or polenta, depending on the region and season), a secondo (meat or fish), a contorno (cooked vegetables or salad) and dolce (dessert). However nobody is capable of such a feat on an ordinary day. Most meals are composed of two courses, a “primo” and/or a “secondo” and a “contorno”.

Not every meal contains all five courses, but many do. If you want the full, five-course Italian dinner, here are the parts you need:

The antipasto

A traditional Italian meal starts with something to nibble on, called an antipasto, which translates into English as “before the meal.” This dish usually consists of a variety of cheeses, olives, vegetables, or fried items such as zucchini flowers or croquettes. In the same way, Bruschetta is a very popular antipasto option.

The primo

The first course will traditionally consist of a risotto, polenta, soup, rice, or pasta dish. Furthermore In Italy, pasta is a first course, or primo, served as an appetizer, not as the main event.

The secondo

The main course is called il secondo, or the second course. The main course will historically feature chicken, meat, fish, or a hearty vegetable. A fresh salad could also be used here.  These main courses are usually fairly simple, especially if a rich pasta or rice dish precedes them.

The contorno

This is the side dish to the main dish. It consists of either cooked vegetables or a salad. Traditionally this is served at the same time as the main dish. Moreover the word contorno loosely translates as “contours” and refers to the fact that the vegetable course helps shape and define the meal.

The dolce

A dolce (or sweet) ends a traditional Italian meal. The Dolce consists of sweets, cheese, or fresh fruit. Cakes, mousses and crèmes brûlées are for tourists who long for sugar at the end of a meal. Pastries and sweets seen in pasticcerias are most often eaten as a snack in the afternoon or as a special occasion dessert.

Never in the same plate

It is not customary for all types of food to be served together on the same plate. Every dish is served in a different plate, mixing is strongly discouraged. Even if you are being served bread alongside your meal, it should never rest on the same plate as your entree. 

Salad is a side

While some countries offer Antipasto salad and refer to it as a meal, this is not something that occurs in Italy. Salad is considered a side dish and, even if you order it as a starter, your request will be totally ignored.

Fruit and Cheese

Meals are generally closed with fresh fruits, often cheeses and coffee. Fruit and cheese, something for everyone. The cheeses will be whatever is typical of the region.


No authentic Italian meal is complete without a cup of coffee afterward!. Coffee is often drunk at the end of a meal, even after the digestivo. Italians, unlike many countries, do not have milky coffees or drinks after meals (such as cappuccino or caffè macchiato), but strong coffee such as espresso, which is often drunk very quickly in small cups at very high temperatures.

Beverage Customs

When you are looking for a beverage to have alongside your meal, you must select red or white wine, beer or mineral water if you want to be traditional. Other beverages are not acceptable (children are exempt of course). In that case, soda is an option for kids. 

Moreover Drinking milk at lunch or dinner is simply unheard of, it will kill the flavor and change the entire food experience, and not in a good way.

Most Italians drink wine. It is very important part of the Italian gastronomic culture and Italy is home to some of the world´s most famous vineyards.


Most of the best Italian dishes start with a “soffritto.” It is generally made with onion, carrot and celery, finely cut and lightly fried in a little olive oil.

Cheese on fish?

Both of these are extremely important when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine. Even so, they should not be served together. 

Italians prize the fresh fish and shellfish from the sea. It’s intended for you to enjoy that heavenly aroma. For this reason, you will never see Italians putting grated cheese or sprinkling parmesan on top of any seafood or fish dish.The strong cheese flavor would murder the seafood aroma.


In Italy, the main meal is Lunch. The Italian word for Lunch means “il pranzo”. In most cultures, lunch is seen as merely a way to nourish yourself in the middle of the day. It is usually seen as less important and formal than the evening meal.

An interesting thing to remember is the fact that lunch is always eaten at a certain hour that is set aside for that purpose. Ideally, lunch includes courses; a primo piattoor first course, such as pasta, gnocchi, or rice, a protein, and vegetables. Normally, lunch is Italian’s biggest and most sustaining meal of the day. If not in a rush, Italians sit down and enjoy their lunch for at least an hour, either at home or in a restaurant or bar.

Therefore if someone happens to miss it, it is totally skipped since it is not considered acceptable to eat this meal at an undesignated time.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. You have taken the time to learn more about all of the traditions and customs that are part of this cuisine and that means a great deal.

Therefore if you are looking for an authentic Italian dining experience, you don’t need to travel all the way to Rome. At Italian Villa, we offer an Italian dining experience with service that is second to none. Moreover we have a variety of authentic, homemade Italian favorites that can expand your palate and introduce you to Italian food. Contact us today to make a reservation.



We are one of the premier Italian Restaurants in Allen, TX, offering home-made
traditional Italian cuisine.  Come visit us today at: 121-B N. Greenville Allen, TX
75002, Phone: 972-390-2189.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial