The lowdown: Cracco's criminal pizza

By Georgia Bronte contact

- Last updated on GMT

The lowdown: crimes against Italian cuisine
Controversial Italian chef and TV personality Carlo Cracco has made a healthy margherita pizza.

Given the trend for healthy eating, this hardly seems like news...
He added wholegrains to the crust and didn’t add basil to the margheritas at his new restaurant in Milan.

What’s the big deal?
Perhaps in the UK it wouldn’t ruffle many feathers, but to the Italians it was sacrilege. People were incensed, taking to social media to express their outrage. Pizza is not to be messed with… as Cracco found out.

Yikes. Did he survive?
He did. It’s not the first time the chef has courted controversy with his recipes. A few years ago he got the good people of Amatrice riled up when he admitted on a TV show to using garlic in his amatriciana sauce. A big no-no. He was denounced and ridiculed, which you would think might have been a lesson to him. The chef used to hold two Michelin stars at his restaurant Ristorante Cracco, but lost one this year- a downgrade some think is due to his laissez-faire attitude to Italian tradition.

That’s embarrassing.
Yes, and the critics have wasted no time in reminding him about it. “After tasting his 'pizza,' they should take away not only his other Michelin stars but also his Italian citizenship and his driving licence," wrote one outraged Italian on the ‘Italians Mad at Food’ Twitter page.

There’s a whole page for Italians who are mad about food?
Of course. Italian people are passionate about their cuisine, and there is a long list of crimes and faux pas that most British people would not be aware of.

Such as?
Let’s start with breakfast. It is the only time anyone should ever drink a cappuccino, and it is not uncommon for waiters at bars and cafes across Italy to refuse to serve customers asking for one at any other time.

*hides mid-afternoon cappuccino* Only an animal would do that… What else?
Spaghetti and meatballs. It looks Italian, and is found on Italian restaurants’ all over the country, but the creation was invented by Americans. In Italy meatballs are served topped with sauce, and definitely would not be accompanied by spaghetti.    ““Except for in one particular region of the south [of Italy], where they put very small meatballs in their tomato sauce, we would never put meatballs in pasta,” Giacomo Silvestris, director of operations for Italian CAI foods in New York told the Guardian. “Who has ever heard of spaghetti meatballs?!”

It's still OK to have it with bolognese though, right?
Absolutely not. Bolognese ragu is only ever served with flat pasta like tagliatelle or fettucine, and it should never be made with garlic. 

Anything else?
Fettucine alfredo, another Anglacised Italian classic. The dish doesn’t exist in Italy, and the closest thing to it is a dish of pasta with butter and parmesan cheese, that Italians might eat at home but never in a restaurant. It is sometimes called ‘pasta del cornuto’, which means ‘cuckold’s pasta’. In a nutshell, if your wife gives you fettucine alfredo, it means she’s probably cheating on you.

Right. No meatballs, watch out for the alfredo, no cappuccinos…
No poultry with pasta, no oil in your pasta water, no cheese with seafood, no sauce dolloped on top  of pasta, no porcini mushrooms with spaghetti… Are you writing this down?

I’d run out of ink.
The moral of the story is not to mess with Italian classics- hell hath no ‘fiori’ like an Italian being served carbonara made with cream.  


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