Even as South Indians were plotting to strike against the American Sambhargate for the appalling list of ingredients to make sambhar: cinnamon and no asafoetida, another culinary faux pas had placed two European nations on the brink of war. OK, we exaggerate, but Carbonaragate was prompted by a video on a French food website of a one-pot version of Pasta alla carbonara, bastardised by the French and sacred to the Italians.
The recipe is said to have been invented during World War II when some hungry soul experimented with ingredients rationed to American soldiers: bacon and eggs. According to the classic Italian recipe, strips of bacon are cooked separately as sphagetti cooks away in another pot. When the pasta is cooked al dente, it is drained and added to the pan with bacon. Egg yolks beaten to a creamy, sunshine-y sauce with cheese, freshly ground pepper and some boiled water are added to the pasta and bacon, to finish the dish.
The French version shows all of this cooked in one pot (bacon is even boiled to an Italian’s utter disgust!), sphagetti is replaced by farfelle pasta and horror of all horrors: a raw egg is broken onto the pasta and cheese is sprinkled on top at the end.
The video that sparked such outrage has been deleted since, but national and international media continue to debate over the recipe. While some suggest that the one-pot idea works for our times, La Repubblica, one of Italy’s leading newspapers, cried shame over an entire page. Barilla, the Italian pasta brand, which is used in the French food website’s video, has faced a lot of flak since and has refused to take credit for the unfortunate brand placement.
Our take? Boiling bacon is a ridiculous waste of meat.
Here’s the recipe for the traditional Pasta Alla Carbonara.