DOne recipe went viral these days and it was for Spaghetti Hawaii. According to the British broadcaster BBC, which published it on its Food Channel website, it is said to be better than spaghetti carbonara. “A family-friendly pasta recipe that makes the best of canned goods,” wrote the editors about the peculiar creation. As the name suggests, it’s pasta with ham and pineapple. And it was this combination that caused great outrage on the Internet.
The recipe makes fun of Italian food culture – not even Hawaiian pizza could rule there. “I found something worse than a pineapple on a pizza”, “An insult to Italian cuisine, I’m out!”, “Disgusting” or “Are you trying to start a war?” sounded on social media. The reactions show that the alleged adulteration of supposedly typical national dishes is as hotly debated today in the context of the cultural appropriation debate as vaccination requirements, speed limits and the question of whether trans women can visit women’s shelters.
There is also a culinary aspect to consider when it comes to Hawaiian spaghetti. Because even people with similar questionable attitudes could do without the dish: “I like pineapple on pizza, but I’ve reached my limits with pasta,” wrote one user. Now you need to know that the dish contains neither fresh pineapple nor fresh ham, but requires both cans (canned ham found on every tinned shelf in Britain) – also contains: butter, onion, garlic and “fat cream cheese”.
And what does a real Italian say about Spaghetti Hawaii? “Basically, I’m open to new things, so I would try it at least once. But I’m skeptical that I’ll taste it – pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza or pasta for me,” Vito Campanelli, who was born in Bari and loves to cook, tells the author, too, when he visits his family. On Twitter, some Italians spoke out in a much more undiplomatic way: “This is a casus belli for us Italians”, “Something like this is just criminal”, “I thought the BBC was a professional broadcaster, how wrong was I. Next topic: how much cream should go in carbonara to put and we should put to guanciale (Editor’s note. lard, air-cured bacon) exchange for salmon”.
Family rehearsal dinner
Reason enough to cook the recipe (read at the end of the article) – with the family, because the test family is a big fan of everything with the tiki addition Hawaii in the name, be it toast or pizza.
The ingredients are very simple and really cheap; just under eight euros for four portions. Only canned ham had to deviate from the original recipe – but packaged cooked ham in slices should serve the purpose just as well. For a moment you wonder what is so “family friendly” about this dish – it is anything but healthy and balanced. This probably means preparation, because it is very simple and quick to do.
The big moment: It’s done, and it doesn’t feel as bad as expected. A little pale, perhaps. In fact, no one turns their noses up at the table – probably this has something to do with the fact that this dish lacks any greenery. A definite plus for children. Test eaters’ taste verdict: “very creamy, but good”, “oddly sweet note”, “quite hot”. Everyone at the table agrees that this will not become your new favorite dish. Also: “has absolutely nothing to do with Italian cuisine” but is “quite nice as a quick meal in between”, even if “pizza in Hawaii tastes better”.
That’s probably the crux of the matter: to get something out of this pasta recipe, you have to really like Hawaiian pizza and “German-style” spaghetti carbonara – that is, pasta smothered in a good cream sauce. But this is by no means a culinary declaration of war on Italy, because there is nothing Italian about it.
These are the ingredients:
400 grams of spaghetti
1 tablespoon of butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
200 g canned ham cut into cubes
400 g can of pineapple chunks in juice
200 g of full-fat cream cheese
salt and black pepper
And it is prepared as follows:
Cook the spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water according to package directions.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Fry the onion for 4-5 minutes – until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and diced ham and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly.
Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice. Add the cream cheese and pineapple chunks to the onion and garlic along with half the juice. Let everything cook for two to three minutes – until the cheese melts and the pineapple chunks are hot. Add the rest of the juice and heat through.
Drain the pasta, return it to the pan and add the ham and pineapple sauce. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix everything well until the spaghetti is lightly coated with the sauce. Serve immediately.