Pasta Passion

22 Jan 2010

Italian chefs launched a campaign over the weekend to defend the authenticity of one of their country’s most famous, yet what they believe to be, most widely and wrongly interpreted dishes. In an attempt to restore integrity to the well known dish Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese, or spaghetti bolognese, and educate the world on its correct preparation, nearly 450 chefs in Italian restaurants in 50 countries cooked the dish with authentic ingredients according to a recipe set down in 1982 by the chamber of commerce in Bologna – the home of bolognese.

While the popularity of spaghetti bolognese has increased around the world and become a staple for millions worldwide, its authenticity has diminished, chefs worry, many claiming that the original recipe has become so corrupted it is in urgent need of culinary rescue. While the original recipe calls for beef, pancetta, carrots, celery, onions, tomato paste, a dash of wine and the egg noodle pasta, tagliatelle, interpretations have broadened to include such ingredients as turkey mince, mortadella, American meatballs, butter and cream.

“If there’s a dish that represents the worst universal forgery of Italian cooking, it has to be the so-called bolognaise. It is prepared out of the most bizarre ingredients, often with overcooked spaghetti, sold in a can; stuff that has nothing to do with genuine original Tagliatelle al Ragù,” said Emanuele Esposito, an Italian chef working in Saudi Arabia. “It is always the great classic recipes that are most mangled,” remarked Alessandro Circiello of the Italian Federation of Chefs, who has previously tried to defend other Italian classis such as Neapolitan pizza, pasta al pesto, cotoletta alla Milanese and tiramisu.

The chefs hope that by increasing awareness of the original recipe, they can protect the reputation of classic Italian dishes around the world. The campaign was organized as part of International Day of Italian Cuisines, a day in which chefs and restaurateurs around the world concurrently cook one authentic Italian dish in an attempt to improve the standard of quality and authenticity of Italian gastronomy worldwide.

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