You’re Making Spaghetti Bolognese All Wrong, According to the Godfather of Italian Food

Much loved Italian chef Antonio Carluccio has a few things to say about Britain’s treatment of the classic pasta dish.

11 October 2016, 11:49am

Foto viaFlickr-brugeren Bob Peters

You can't go wrong with Spaghetti Bolognese. Meat? Check. Carbs? Check. Recipe simple enough for someone with only basic culinary skills and a woefully understocked kitchen to master? Check. It may be the basic bitch of Italian cuisine, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable to eat straight from the pan in front of a First Dates marathon.

However, according to one of Italy's top chefs, Britain has got its beloved spag Bol entirely wrong. And he's not happy.

Antonio Carluccio, who moved to the UK in 1975, was speaking at Cheltenham Literature Festival when he spoke out against Brits' treatment of the meat and pasta dish. He was describing the kind of cooking he found at London's early Italian restaurants.

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Carluccio said: "There was spaghetti Bolognese, which does not exist in Italy. In Italy, it is tagliatelle Bolognese, with freshly made tagliatelle and Bolognese without any herbs whatsoever."

As the man behind UK-wide Italian restaurant chain Carluccio's and one half of The Two Greedy Italians—along with Jamie Oliver mentor Gennaro Contaldo—Carluccio is considered by many as the "godfather of Italian food." So yeah, he probably does know more about cucina italiana than whatever it says on the back of that Dolmio jar.

Carluccio didn't hold back in detailing exactly how wrong Brits have got the midweek dinner fave.

He added: "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."

Or should that be Roberto?

Carluccio also went after Brits' habit of putting oregano, basil, and garlic in Italian food ("which is not at all right"), as well as other dishes that seem only to be served in British Italian restaurants, such as avocado with prawns and salsa. "The salsa often has nothing in it but ketchup and mayonnaise, and in Italy avocados do not even exist," he pointed out.

READ MORE: Italy Says Britain Can't Identify Real Parmesan

Carluccio isn't the first of his countrymen to bemoan British Italian food. Last year, Italian food retailer and restaurateur Oscar Farinetti criticised the UK's taste for "imitation" Parmesan, and don't get Italian Parliament started on the way British boozers serve Prosecco like it's cheap lager.

Even the New York Times' food section isn't safe from Italian cooks' scorn. Just this summer, the newspaper received a string of angry comments under an online version of its "white Bolognese" recipe, made—mama mia!—without tomatoes. It was ""Sacrilege!!" apparently.

Maybe don't let Carluccio and his guys know about pizza bagels, then.