Spaghetti bolognese has been ruined by the British and it now tastes nothing like the original, according to top Italian chef Antonio Carluccio.
The 79-year-old founder of the Carluccio's restaurant chain said our interpretation of the classic dish from Bologna is “not at all right” because we pack it full of herbs when there shouldn't actually be any. Italians don't even use spaghetti, he said, where the dish is known as tagliatelle bolognese and can be made with just eight ingredients.
“When you think Italy, you start to put oregano, basil, parsley, garlic, which is not at all right," he told the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
“You should do this: oil, onion, two types of meat – beef and pork – and you practically brown this, then you put the tomatoes, then a bit of wine, including tomato paste, and then you cook it for three hours.
“That is it. Nothing else. Grate parmesan on the top and Bob’s your uncle.”
He's not the first chef to knock some of Britain's more freewheeling interpretations of the dish.
Massimo Bottura, the chef at three-Michelin-star Modena restaurant Osteria Francescana has said there are “some crazy versions” around. And Rome-based chef Alfredo Tomaselli has said some versions in Britain have “nothing at all” to do with the original.
The dish's official recipe – drawn up by the Italian Academy of Cooking at the request of the region's Chamber of Commerce – contains only beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, white wine and milk.
Food trends in 2016
Food trends in 2016
1/11 Celeriac root
We had a kale obsession in 2015, but 2016’s vegetable sine qua non is predicted to be the knobbly celeriac root. Celeriac milk (Tom Hunt at Poco in Bristol serves it with winter mussels and wild water celery), celeriac cooked in Galician beef fat (from Adam Rawson of Pachamama, hot new chef in the capital) and salt-baked celeriac (to be found in Matthew and Iain Pennington’s kitchens at The Ethicurean in the West Country) are just a few examples.
2/11 Middle Eastern food
The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook (£24.95, Phaidon) by grand-dame Salma Hage, author of the bestseller The Lebanese Kitchen (whose halva is pictured here), is out in April
© Liz & Max Haarala Hamilton
3/11 Non-alcoholic cocktails
Grain Store mixologist Tony Conigliaro has created Roman Redhead, a riot of red grape juice, beetroot, pale ale and verjus, and Rose Iced Tea (black tea, rose petals, anise essence, pictured here)
The discerning will be slurping Hepple gin – from chef Valentine Warner and cocktail guru Nick Strangeway – which is punctuated with bog-myrtle nuances
5/11 Argyll and Bute
Restaurant followers are getting in a froth about Pam Brunton in Scotland, who opened the Inver restaurant in Argyll and Bute to acclaim last year
6/11 Andy Oliver’s Som Saa
One of the most eagerly awaited restaurants of 2016 will be the permanent incarnation of Andy Oliver’s remarkable pop-up Som Saa opening very soon in east London. Oliver, who worked at Thai god David Thompson’s Nahm in Bangkok, raised a whopping £700,000 through crowdfunding, and is renowned for his piquant Thai flavours and obsessive attention to detail, including in his home ferments and DIY coconut cream
© Adam Weatherley
Another ruminant in vogue is venison, with Sainsbury’s doubling its line for 2016. It provides a protein-packed punch, with B vitamins and iron, and it’s low in fat. Its entry into the mainstream is in part thanks to the Scottish restaurant Mac and Wild, just opened in London, whose Celtic head chef Andy Waugh (who also runs the Wild Game Co) has been touting it as street food for years (his venison burger pictured here)
From Brett Graham’s The Ledbury to Angela Hartnett’s kitchens at Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest, Cabrito is the go-to goat supplier among the chef cognoscenti (roasted loin of kid pictured here) – but this year, domestic cooks can get in on the action, as Sushila Moles and James Whetlor of Cabrito offer their meat through Ocado
Mike Lusmore / mikelusmore.com
Coffee sage George Crawford is launching the much-anticipated Cupsmith with his partner, Emma. Crawford believes that 2016 is the year purist coffee will finally meet the masses; Cupsmith’s mission will be to make craft coffee as popular as craft beer on the high street. The company roasts Arabica beans in small batches, improving its quality – but sells it online, at cupsmith.com, in an approachable way: expect cheerful packaging and names such as Afternoon Reviver Coffee (designed for drinking with milk – no matter how uncouth, most of us want milk) and Glorious Espresso
10/11 120-day-old steak
Hanging meat for extremely long lengths of time has become an art. In Cumbria, Lake Road Kitchen’s James Cross is plating up 120-day-old steak (pictured here). The beef is from influential “ager” Dan Austin of Lake District Farmers, who is currently investigating the individual bacterial cultures that go into this maturing process
11/11 Lotus root
Diners can expect root-to-stem dining - cue the full lotus deployed by the Michelin-starred Indian Benares in its kamal kakdi aur paneer korma
The reason for tagliatelle over spaghetti is because the sauce sticks better to flatter pasta.
Carluccio also railed against foodie trends during his talk, saying: “In Italy food is not fashionable, I hate the word fashionable for food because one day it will be lentils that are fashionable, the other day they are not.
“Food is all the same, you cook it when you have it, when it is at the peak of the season and knowing the cuisine well, you cook it at any time that you want not simply because it is just a fashionable thing.”Reuse content