Don’t spoil it! Italians celebrate classic carbonara

ROME (AFP) – Italian gourmets celebrating on Tuesday one of the country’s classic pasta dishes – carbonara – had a simple message for foreigners: keep it simple, and don’t betray the tradition.

“The secret to a good carbonara… is more about what you don’t put in it, rather than what you put in it,” food journalist and carbonara expert Eleonora Cozzella told AFP.

She was speaking on the sidelines of the launch in Rome of the ‘CarbonaraDay’, a once-a-year online marathon of carbonara-themed events organised by Italy’s pasta-makers’ association.

Classic carbonara, typical of Rome and its surrounding Lazio region, is made with eggs, pecorino cheese and pepper. Italians get touchy when more ingredients are added to the mix.

Earlier this year, a ‘Smoky Tomato Carbonara’ recipe in the New York Times’ cooking supplement, which included tomatoes and replaced pecorino with parmesan, caused an uproar in Italy.

Coldiretti, a farmers’ lobby, called the US recipe “a disturbing knockoff of the prestigious dish from Italian popular tradition”, and complained that carbonara was “one of the most disfigured Italian recipes”.