Martha Stewart Has a New Pasta Dish, but Fans Say It’s Inauthentic

  • Martha Stewart shared an Instagram video with a new pasta carbonara. 
  • Italian chef Barbara Pollastrini said Stewart’s version of the classic dish gave her a “heart attack.”
  • Stewart adds heavy cream and olive oil to the dish, and uses bacon instead of guanciale. 

Martha Stewart has released a new pasta carbonara recipe, but many of her followers criticized it for being inauthentic — and an Italian chef agrees with them. 

Stewart posted a video of the carbonara on her official Instagram page on Wednesday, describing it as a “quick dinner made from six everyday kitchen staples.” 

A post shared by Martha Stewart (@marthastewart)

“If you can boil water, then making this easy version of pasta carbonara is just a hop, skip, and a jump away,” the caption reads. “Carbonara is a comfort food standby for good reason.” 

Stewart’s version of carbonara strays from the traditional recipe by adding heavy cream, extra-virgin olive oil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the spaghetti dish. She also says you can use pancetta, guanciale, or bacon.

Italian chef Barbara Pollastrini told Insider that Martha Stewart’s ingredient changes were an absolute no-no 

Heavy cream in Martha Stewart carbonara

Stewart’s recipe includes heavy cream, which is not part of a traditional carbonara.

Martha Stewart/Instagram

“First of all, there is no need to use extra-virgin olive oil, because the guanciale fat is all you need, and that’s where all the flavor comes from,” Pollastrini said. “It is sacrilegio to use pancetta or bacon. It’s like making an apple pie, and instead of apple, you use pears. You can’t call it apple pie!” 

“In the real carbonara, we use just egg yolk, and absolutely no heavy cream,” she added. “You are not making an omelet. And the real carbonara uses only pecorino Romano, not parmesan.”

Pollastrini also wasn’t happy with how Stewart cooked her carbonara

Martha Stewart carbonara in a pan

Stewart boils her pasta before cooking it in a separate skillet.

Martha Stewart/Instagram

Stewart’s clip first shows bacon being cooked in a large skillet. Then the egg and yolks are whisked together with the heavy cream and seasoned with salt and pepper.

“The right way to make the cream for the carbonara is to mix pecorino Romano, egg yolk, and black pepper, and make a nice and thick-like cream,” Pollastrini said. “At this moment, you should have added some of the fat left over from frying the guanciale. And because of the incredible saltiness of the guanciale, no additional salt is needed to season the eggs.” 

Stewart also cooks her pasta in a pot of boiling water before adding it to a separate skillet to cook in reserved pasta water, another step that confused Pollastrini. 

Martha Stewart carbonara with egg mixture

The egg mixture in Stewart’s carbonara.

Martha Stewart/Instagram

“The pasta needs to be mixed in the egg yolk-pecorino cream and, if needed, use some pasta water — but only if needed,” she said. “Carbonara sauce is not cooked in the pan. Then you add in the crispy guanciale and, at the end, freshly ground black pepper with more crispy guanciale on top. There you have it! The real carbonara.” 

Many of Stewart’s fans were dismayed with the recipe, especially over the fact that it included heavy cream. 

“Every time someone puts cream in carbonara an Italian falls somewhere in the world, just like fairies in Peter Pan,” one follower quipped. 

And Pollastrini told Insider that Stewart’s carbonara video gave her a ‘heart attack’

Martha Stewart's pasta carbonara

Stewart’s version of pasta carbonara.

Martha Stewart/Instagram

“I was born and raised in Rome, where I ate and cooked carbonara since I was a child,” she said. “I am proud that a dish from my city is famous all over the world, but I get upset when I see that the same dish is destroyed in this way. It became famous because we use very few ingredients, and only of top-notch quality.”

But Pollastrini had some advice for Stewart to make amends with the Italians. 

“I would call your version ‘Martonara,'” she said. “Much more appropriate.”

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