I know an Italian expat who works as a chef in Boston.
He went away from Italy something like 50 years ago, he was quite young.
Once we met and he cooked for me.
The meal included tortellini with tomato sauce (very nicely done) and chicken parm….
Well, I really loved chicken parm. Tasty and nice. I asked him the recipe to do it myself. Why did I ask him the recipe?
BECAUSE IN ITALY WE DON’T HAVE CHICKEN PARM!!!!! It’s a US DISH!!!!!
It’s a commonplace and he confirmed me it’s one of the most present dish in the menu of almost all Italian restaurants in the US and widely required by customers.
Something that quite scared me is that he told me that customers appreciate it with pasta as a side, something that in Italy would be considered an offence.
When you go to an Italian restaurant and find it, remember you are ordering a nice food but you are not eating something Italian.
I was told by this chef that restaurants need to offer it because people abroad have not a food culture that allows them to appreciate and try original tastes and need to adapt them to something similar to local habits. They refuse original recipes, requiring mixes and ingredients that are out of Italian tradition and this makes the chef’s job frustrating.
Sometimes it would be nice taking a “risk” and eat original recipes without modifying their nature. They would discover they are really delicious.