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In praise of (Italian) Carbonara

Challenging the Chinese version of sea urchin and bottarga carbonara

In praise of (Italian) Carbonara

Claudia Astarita

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Recently, the Hong Kong dailySouth China Morning Post has published its senior food and wine editor Susan Jung's version of carbonara. According to this Chinese lady, "for a great twist on the classic spaghetti carbonara, substitute sea urchin for the eggs and karasumi (or bottarga) for the parmesan cheese".

Although I love sea urchin and I believe that a simple pasta with fish is just delicious, especially after grating a bit of bottarga on top, I think the idea of calling this new combination "sea urchin carbonara" was not an attempt to steal Rome the merit of creating its famous pasta with egg, bacon and parmesan, rather the confirmation that to make a new kind of pasta popular and successful, international chefs need to connect it with something truly Italian. And there is nothing more authentic than carbonara...

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