The New York Times is still smarting from the scathing rebuke it received on social media following its publication last week of a recipe for “Smoky Tomato Carbonara.” The title alone set off alarms on Twitter where defenders of the classic pasta dish noted that carbonara is not smoky (the pork product used in it is guanciale, which is cured but not smoked) and never has tomatoes. The recipe’s author, Kay Chun, remarked in her preamble that bacon is included in her version because it is “widely available” and “lends a nice smoky note” and that “tomatoes … lend a bright tang to the dish.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 30, 2023
While the Times author did correctly observe that carbonara is “a Roman specialty,” she stopped short of noting it is one of a triumvirate of such pastas derived from a fourth, cacio e pepe, which is sauced simply by grated pecorino and freshly ground pepper. The flowchart in a photoshopped image provided by one of the Twitter commenters lays out the lineage, if in a slightly oversimplified form:
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