ITALIAN food is the favourite cuisine for two thirds of Brits, however many are cooking and eating their favourite Italian meals “the wrong way”.
A poll of 2,000 adults found that despite our love of Italian cuisine, more than six in ten are unaware of the authentic ways to prepare and eat popular dishes which originate from Italy.
Enjoying garlic bread with pasta, covering the dish with cheese and putting oil in pasta water are some of the “culinary crimes” being committed by 62 per cent of the nation.
More than a quarter admitted they routinely add cream to their carbonara, while 67 per cent had no idea the dish is traditionally made by cracking a raw egg into the hot pasta at the end.
As many as two-fifths habitually overcook pasta – rather than enjoying it “al dente” as the Italians do and 40 per cent regularly cut up their spaghetti before eating it – a massive no-no in Italy.
Commissioned by Napolina, the study found the average Brit will enjoy an Italian-inspired dish at least twice a week with half stating this is due to its versatility.
Mistakes Brits make when eating Italian food
THESE are the most common mistakes Brits make when enjoying Italian food:
1. Enjoying garlic bread alongside pasta
2. Consuming bread before starting a meal
3. Eating stuffed pizza crusts
4. Covering an Italian dish with cheese
5. Making pizza with more than three toppings
6. Never eating pasta “al dente”
7. Not using passata to make a pasta sauce
8. Cutting spaghetti before eating it so it is shorter
9. Adding cream to Carbonara
10. Putting oil in pasta water
Nearly eight in ten adults love to tuck into an Italian meal simply because it tastes so good, while two-thirds agreed the recipes are simple but full of flavour.
Neil Brownbill from Napolina said: “One of the main reasons consumers love Italian cuisine is because of its versatility, so it’s fantastic to see so many people creating their own versions of Italian classics.
“The research shows that UK consumers love Italian food and experimenting with different styles and techniques.
“We want to enhance the eating experience for consumers, inspiring them to create delicious, authentic Italian cuisine, in a way that encourages them to try different dishes and add new recipes to their weekly repertoire.”
The study also found 35 per cent will enjoy pineapple on pizza, with 43 per cent indulging in multiple toppings.
But traditionally, pizza is served with no more than three toppings, often just tomato sauce and fresh basil.
Nearly a quarter have used condiments such as ketchup or mayonnaise on the side of an Italian dish – whereas the Italians will often accompany a meal with a simple side of oil and balsamic vinegar.
It also emerged 44 per cent of Brits admitted to adding cheese to a meal after it’s been served but, in Italy, this is seen as a great offence to the chef who has prepared it for you.
Among the UK’s favourite Italian meals are spaghetti Bolognese, carbonara and lasagne, as well as pizza and ravioli.
And more than two thirds of those polled via OnePoll enjoy cooking Italian food, with 35 per cent taking inspiration from meals they have tasted when eating out at an Italian restaurant.
Another two-fifths have felt the desire to cook Italian food after reading recipe books, with a fifth taking ideas from holidays in Italy and 16 per cent getting suggestions from brand packaging.
Neil Brownbill added: “We know that consumers want more from brands than just ingredients.
“That’s why, as an Italian cooking brand, we are constantly developing and evolving the ways in which we can help our customers bring their Italian dishes to life and encourage the UK population to love Italian food even more.”
Napolina helps to inspire the nation to cook authentic Italian cuisine through useful and interesting tips and recipes on its website, Instagram and Cooking With Napolina YouTube channel.