The Pasta Queen Is In Shambles Over Gordon Ramsay's Carbonara

The passionate Pasta Queen can easily turn into the Drama Queen when a beloved pasta recipe is treated with what is, in her opinion, culinary sacrilege. The TikTok-famous cook, whose name is Nadia Caterina Munno, typically teaches mere mortals (2.5 million of them follow her on the platform) how to make authentic Italian dishes fit for the Roman Gods. Recently, though, she filmed an incredulous reaction video to Gordon Ramsay's version of pasta alla carbonara

"You know we get really upset about these things," she says in the TikTok in which she and her brother critique Ramsay's concoction, which includes several seemingly offensive mix-ins and substitutions for a dish that traditionally includes just egg yolks, Pecorino Romano cheese, guanciale (pork jowl), and a "scrunch" of black pepper mixed with "tears of the gods" (AKA pasta water), per Munno's recipe. The Pasta Queen begins watching Ramsay's video with an open mind, but she quickly becomes sure that "Nonna is crying" over the apparent culinary and cultural atrocity.

Carbonara holds a special place in The Pasta Queen's heart

Carbonara is traced back to the 1940s, Munno told Good Morning America, when a Roman chef prepared it "as a gift for American troops who liberated Italy during the second world war." Considering the dish is essentially pasta combined with a sauce that evokes bacon and eggs, it is a true mashup of the two countries' cuisines. The name of the dish, according to Barilla, may have evolved from "the carboneria (a secret society), the carbonari (charcoal kiln builders), and the color of the pepper used to prepare it."

Why is carbonara so special to Munno? Not only is the cookbook author from Rome, but she was also raised by a family in the pasta business; her ancestors have run a Southern Italian pasta factory for 200 years. While The Pasta Queen uses her platform to share the authentic versions of a number of Italian pasta recipes, carbonara clearly strikes a special chord for her as "an emblem of Rome." This could be because the Roman specialty is one of the "well known, yet often poorly executed, Italian dishes outside of Italy," according to Sally Abé of Great Italian Chefs. If you ask Munno, Ramsay is just another one of the offenders against this misunderstood recipe.

Ramsay adding dairy to carbonara was the last straw for The Pasta Queen

Ramsay clearly takes some liberties with the original carbonara recipe. First, he claims to make the dish in under 10 minutes. "My Gordon," responds Munno, "let us dream." Throughout the video, Munno's dramatic gasps of horror entertain viewers while Ramsay's alleged crimes against carbonara persist. He substitutes Grana Padano for Pecorino and bacon for guanciale. He also adds garlic, peas, mushrooms, bacon, oil, and chili. Call it Gordonara, but as far as The Pasta Queen and Pasta Bro are concerned, don't call it carbonara.

In her own instructions for spaghetti alla carbonara, Munno explains that adding oil to the dish is not necessary because of all the fat released from the guanciale. If you can't find guanciale, you can use pancetta, but — horrors! — not supermarket bacon. More tips from Munno: Use a young Pecorino (not aged), and serve the finished dish immediately. If the pasta gets sticky, just "mix it a little more."

Ramsay's version also calls for little bit of milk or crème fraiche to avoid a sauce that is "sticky, cloying, and heavy," and he even throws in a dollop of crème fraiche. That's when The Pasta Queen loses it. At the end of her carbonara video, Munno reads a question from a TikTok viewer, who asks, "Can I put cream in the carbonara?" After a deep breath and a serious stare, the Queen gives an emphatic, "No. We don't use cream. We're Italians."