Ketchup on pasta? 10 Italian food sins to stop committing right now

Eating pasta as a side dish and sipping coffee during your meals - we might love Italian food but it seems we don't have a clue how to eat it

Eating pasta smothered in ketchup, sipping cappuccinos during dinner and covering tables with red and white checked cloths. If you're doing any of these you're getting Italian food wrong.

According to a new set of guidelines, we Brits treat Italian specialties badly in the kitchen - and now we've got no excuse not to get it right.Pasta: There's more to it than you think! [REX]

Academia Barilla, a well-respected food institute based in Parma, Italy, has announced 10 food faux pas we get wrong about Italian cookery in order to 'teach foreigners how to avoid culinary horrors'.

So next time you're sloshing olive oil into your cooking pan or ordering coffee at an Italian restaurant, think twice... (And perhaps print this list.)


1. Never sip a cappuccino during a meal. Espresso coffee and cappuccino are Italy's pride. The first is to be consumed after a meal, and a cappuccino is for breakfast, ideally with something sweet. You can order a one after a meal but you should know an Italian would never do so.

2. Risotto and pasta are not meant to accompany other dishes (apart from specialities such as l'Ossobuco alla milanese). Pasta served as if it were a veg is "a mistake committed in many other countries, but in Italy is considered sacrilegious".

3. Don't put oil in the pasta water. Any addition should be made after the pasta has been cooked.

4. Ketchup on pasta. This really shocks Italians. Ketchup's fine, but only with chips.Don't start them early... [REX]

5. Spaghetti Bolognese? No! Probably Italy's most famous dish, yet there isn't a restaurant in Bologna that serves it. The famous sauce is traditionally cooked with tagliatelle, not spaghetti and what Italian's think of as bolognase is a far simpler dish with fewer ingredients.

6. Pasta with chicken – never in Italy. Who knew?!

7. "Caesar salad": unknown in Italy, even if its inventor, Caesar Cardini, was Italian.


8. Red and white checked tablecloths. They don't exist in Italy, even though we see them in every foreign Italian restaurant ever.

9. "Fettuccine alfredo", a dish of noodles with butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano, celebrated in the States as being characteristically Italian. But not according to the report, which calls it "completely unknown" in Italy. Invented in Rome by Alfredo Di Lelio, it never took off in Italy, at least with that name.

10. Respect tradition and a mother's advice, namely that Italian food is to be shared with those you love. Love and family are "tutto". Now there's a rule we can agree with.

How many of the Italian food sins do you commit? We have plenty of re-thinking to do.

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