Italian food is one of the most loved cuisines globally, and it’s no surprise that numerous restaurants try to take shortcuts by serving fake or varied versions of fine Italian food.
For those of you who have not had the opportunity to live in Italy and those who’ve not had the time to study Italian cuisine, there are still some rules of thumb that can help you spot fake Italian food.
Name of the Dish or Ingredient
One of the best ways of spotting fake Italian food or restaurants is by the name. If a dish or ingredient calls itself ‘Italian,’ you can almost be 100% certain that it’s not. For example, the so-called Italian salad dressing that comes in a bottle is far from authentic Italian food. The same goes for countless other fake Italian foods you find in stores.
Any dish that calls itself ‘Italian’ immediately gives itself away as fake because traditional Italian dishes are regional and not international. Also, ‘authentic’ does not guarantee anything, so always check the ingredients to know if it true Italian.
Number of Ingredients in the Dish
Italian food is all about bringing out the best of its main ingredients’ natural flavor. This means that not piling on different components on top of the other.
If an Italian dish claims to have seven or eight ingredients or more, then you should start to doubt its authenticity. If it has ten, then know for sure that it’s fake.
Use of Non-Italian Ingredients
Several ingredients are commonly used in the US and worldwide, but are not part of Italian culinary tradition. Italians continue to rely on whole foods to cook with. So, if a recipe uses ingredients like onion powder or garlic powder; you can be sure that it’s not authentic.
And of course, if an Italian dish calls for non-Italian foods like cheddar, cayenne pepper, or jalapenos, you should have serious doubts about its Italian authenticity.
Italian cooking is based on several basic techniques that carry from dish to dish. The preparation of a soffrito, for example, is the starting point for countless sauces, sautés and stews, followed by the browning of the main ingredient to take on the flavor of the aromatics. This is then typically followed by a splash of wine, which is allowed to evaporate.
These techniques give Italian cooking its characteristic flavors and textures. Far from fake Italian food.
You know good, authentic Italian food when you taste it. Stop by Gerbasi Ristorante on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. We’ll treat you to Italian food based on authentic Italian recipes.