Carlo Cracco has cooked alongside Alain Ducasse and earned two Michelin stars for his restaurant in Milan, where the city’s elite feast on dishes such as lemon risotto with anchovies and cocoa, and marinated salmon with foie gras.
But the chef’s professional pedigree did not stop the local council in Amatrice, a town two hours from Rome, from publicly denouncing and ridiculing him.
Cracco’s sin? The chef confessed on national television that he used unpeeled, sautéed garlic as the “secret ingredient” in his amatriciana, one of Rome’s staple pasta dishes.
According to officials in Amatrice, there are six ingredients that make up a real amatriciana: guanciale (pork jowl), pecorino cheese, white wine, tomatoes from San Marzano, pepper and chilli.
The town’s deputy mayor, Piergiuseppe Monteforte, denied that officials were being too strict. “Use one ingredient for another, it changes not only the flavour of a dish but also the history of it,” Monteforte told the Guardian. “If you use ingredients like garlic or onion in an amatriciana, it means you are ignoring a pastoral tradition that is almost 1,000 years old, passed down from generation to generation.”Anyone spot the error?
A pastoral tradition with 1,000 years of tomatoes and chili peppers in Italy?
Pass the bong, baby! Don't bogart it.
Italy has only used tomatoes consistently since the late 18th-century or the early 19th century. Chili peppers are also New World. This complete lack of historic perspective is typical for people steeped in a particular tradition. Thankfully, chez CC, we aspire to higher standards of truth.