The Big Problem With Martha Stewart's New Pasta Dish, According To An Italian Chef

When you skim through the internet looking for last-minute dinner inspiration, a Martha Stewart recipe will likely emerge as the answer. It might have to do with Martha's credibility as a domestic goddess, meticulously built over decades of publishing her own magazine, blog, writing over 90 cookbooks, and hosting successful television shows (via Biography).

So when you see a Martha Stewart recipe, you know that dinner for the day is good to go. However, her latest recipe shows that even the goddess can get a few things wrong. Martha recently shared an easy version of pasta carbonara with her fans on Instagram, adding that "If you can boil water, then making this easy version of pasta carbonara is just a hop, skip, and a jump away." What makes it so easy? The recipe, published on Stewart's website, calls for a mere six ingredients (not counting salt and pepper), all of which are bound to be in your kitchen already.

Martha's easy carbonara requires spaghetti, of course, plus eggs, olive oil, heavy cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and either pancetta, guanciale, or bacon. Two of those ingredients have left Martha fans and Italian chefs alike with mixed feelings about calling Martha's carbonara, carbonara.

One Italian chef calls it 'Martonara'

Italian chef Barbara Pollastrini, who grew up in Rome eating plenty of carbonara, says that are several problems with Martha's version of carbonara. First of all, she tells Insider, using anything but guanciale is a "sacrilegio." Although Martha's recipe probably intended to give cooks an easier-to-find alternative to guanciale, Pollastrini says that using pancetta or bacon in carbonara is like "making an apple pie, and instead of apple, you use pears. You can't call it apple pie!"

The next big issue comes from the use of heavy cream. A traditional carbonara does not use heavy cream and requires Pecorino Romano, not Parmesan. Pollastrini also disagrees with the way Martha prepares her carbonara sauce, suggesting that if you whisk Pecorino Romano, pepper, and egg yolk together, you will have a thick and creamy sauce without the use of heavy cream.

Comments on Martha's Instagram seem to feel similarly. "This is not Carbonara !!! guanciale, pecorino romano, eggs, salt and pepper, pasta. nothing more nothing less. that is the real Carbonara. please", one comment read. "[T]his makes me lose trust in your recipes," another disappointed fan wrote.

One user said Martha's recipe should have been called "Martha's interpretation of Carbonara. Definitely NOT authentic." Pollastrini went a step further, telling Insider it would be more appropriate to call this version a "Martonara."