The best thing about discovering new countries is undoubtedly being able to try new food, taking home recipes and ideas and trying them out at home to impress friends and family. Maybe we don’t always get the recipe just right or we make a few substitutions to compensate for that missing truffle or out-of-season fruit.

But in a recent tongue-in-cheek article by Parma-based Italian food institute Academia Barilla, no longer will our crimes against their beloved national food be tolerated. They released a list of the top 10 no-no’s to help guide hapless chefs the world over in the art of making the perfect Italian food.

Spaghetti bolognese
Italians serve bolognese with tagliatelle rather than spaghetti. (Photo Credit: Spaghetti alla bolognese by Flickr user mattmendoza)

From the more or less obvious, “Never, ever, sip a cappuccino during a meal”, to the downright surprising “Spaghetti Bolognese? No! Probably Italy’s most famous dish, yet there isn’t a restaurant in Bologna that serves it”, the list captures a moment in time in most amateur chef’s kitchens.

Other so-called culinary faux pas include:

  • “Don’t put oil in the pasta water. Any addition should be made after the pasta has been cooked.”
  • “Pasta with chicken – never in Italy. Americans regard this as ‘typically Italian’, says the report, ‘but we have to tell you: no one in Italy would serve such a dish’.”
  • “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’.”

Read more about the top ten Italian rules on

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About Emily McCullough

Originally from Northern Ireland, Emily came to the Netherlands for her boyfriend and a masters degree in Physical Geography. She enjoys photography, baking, and her cats… preferably not all at the same time.


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