The term “authentic” is used very frequently to describe food—especially in the marketing world. In fact, it’s often tossed around as a buzzword, overlooking the true meaning of authenticity. So, what does it really mean?

“Authentic” is synonymous with genuine, original, and trustworthy. In the culinary context, it’s used the same way. Authentic food has an undisputed origin, and is made of real ingredients that come from designated places. So, when dishes or recipes are described as “authentic,” it means that they are close to what is unanimously accepted as “traditional” in their country of origin.

What is Authentic Italian Food?

Of course, the most “authentic” Italian food is found in Italy. Visiting the actual country in which the dish originates allows for the most “genuine” eating experience. Travelers can immerse themselves in regionally specific varieties of the country’s cuisine, complete with local, homegrown ingredients.

The U.S. is full of “Americanized” Italian food chains with menus full of staple pasta and pizza dishes that foreigners recognize as “Italian”. These restaurants are not considered authentic, because they do not use the specific customs and ingredients while preparing the food.

But, there is no need to worry! You don’t need the means to travel across the globe in order to experience authentic Italian flavors. There are many restaurants in the U.S. that serve authentic food. It’s all about staying true to one’s cultural roots, and not straying too far away from tradition.

From fine dining to fast casual, venues for authentic Italian food come in all shapes and sizes. Look for classic, artisanal dishes, perhaps even crafted by true Italians from passed-down recipes.

7 Examples of Authentic Italian Food

What many Americans deem “Italian” isn’t as authentic as they may think. The abundance of so-called Italian delivery pizza and endless breadsticks tend to lead Americans into thinking that all Italian food is heavy and fattening. But, true Italian dishes, passed down from generation to generation, are not smothered in sauce and cheese. In fact, many traditional Italian dishes are nutritious, well-balanced, and quite simple. Several recipes include:

  1. Pasta e Fagioli: Pasta and beans
  2. Cioppino: Tomato-based seafood stew
  3. Polenta: Cooked cornmeal, traditionally known as Italy’s ‘peasant dish’
  4. Zucchini Potato Pancetta: Vegetables and pork belly from Southern Italy
  5. Risotto alla Milanese: A classic mid-1800s dish from Northern Italy
  6. Potato Gnocchi: Small potato dumplings
  7. Pinsa Romana: An artisanal, Roman-style pizza crust that has stood the test of time’

Serve Authentic. Serve Pinsa.

In the days of Ancient Italy, the Roman Empire cultivated a recipe so healthy, versatile, and delicious, they even offered it to the gods. It was called pinsa, derived from the word “pinsere,” meaning “to press”. It is the mixture of water, grains, and salt, hand-pressed into an oval, and fermented for at least two days before cooking atop hot ashes and stone. The result? A delightfully crisp crust with a warm, soft center; the perfect foundation for fresh garnishes such as olive oil, figs, a sprinkle of cheese, and various herbs. Thus, the Eternal City devised a dish so divine, it still graces our dinner tables—centuries later.

When made with the correct ingredients and the appropriate hand-pressing technique, pinsa crust is about as authentic as it gets. Pinsa is a base similar to pizza crust, but it’s lighter, healthier, and simply better. Why? Because its ancient recipe discounts GMOs, added sugars, and unnecessary fats. Authentic pinsa goes back to the basics, and its universally loved flavor profile proves why we’re still swooning for it today.

Does Authenticity Really Matter?

If you’re looking to honor traditional Italian culture and cuisine, authenticity matters. Plus, authentic food tends to be more nutritious, well-crafted, and artisanal. But at the end of the day, authenticity is a personal preference. What really matters, and what is arguably the most authentic way to enjoy a meal, is sitting around a table with the people you love.

Always Authentic: Partner with Pinsa Romana America

Chef Carlo Pedone is the owner of Pinsa Romana America, the sole distributor of authentic par-baked pinsa crust in the U.S. His passion for bringing people together at the dinner table is as authentic as his pinsa crusts.

The best part about par-baked pinsa crust? It’s a cost-effective and convenient way to taste authentic Italian food without having to fly halfway across the world. Made with a non-GMO blend of rice, wheat, soy, and sourdough flour, up to 80% hydration for easy digestibility, and no added sugars or fats, Carlo’s pinsa crusts are fermented, hand-pressed, and partially baked before arriving at your kitchen. All you need is an oven and a passion for serving up authentic Italian flavors. Simply top your pinsa crust with fresh ingredients, pop in the oven for a few minutes, and your delicious Roman-style pizza is ready to be served!

Ready to join the Pinsa Romana America family today? Visit our website for more information.