Italian Chef Reacts With Horror to Hawaiian Spaghetti Recipe: 'Mamma Mia'

A leading Italian chef has joined the growing number of voices speaking out against a recipe for "Hawaiian Spaghetti" that went viral on social media.

Francesco Mazzei, chef patron at Sartoria in Mayfair, London, reacted with horror to the ham and pineapple dish, which resurfaced on Twitter after the account NoContextBrits shared a screenshot of the recipe, which was originally published on the BBC Food website.

"The BBC have declared war with Italy," a caption accompanying the image read. At the time of writing, it's already been retweeted over 11,000 times, earning 120,000 likes in the process.

Reacting to the dish, Mazzei told Newsweek: "Mamma Mia, oh my god! I understand pineapple on pizza is popular, but I would never serve it in my restaurants, and certainly not in pasta!"

First created by Greek-born Canadian chef Sam Panopoulos at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, back in 1962, 60 years on and the Hawaiian pizza continues to be a source of contention among fans of Italian food.

It even led to something of an international incident in 2017 when the president of Iceland, Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson, told a young audience during a visit to a school that if he had the power, he would pass a law banning pineapple on pizza.

The comments triggered a major debate around the pizza topping pairing, with Johannesson later apologizing for the comments during an appearance on Canadian radio, where he acknowledged he "went a step too far."

Now the debate appears to have spilled over into the world of pasta after the Hawaiian Spaghetti recipe, which was created by Lorna Cooper, caught the eye of people on Twitter.

Described by Cooper as "a great twist to try for a quick midweek dinner," the dish drew a mixture of anger, astonishment and general amusement from foodies online.

"That looks revolting," one commenter wrote, with another writing simply: "I despair." A third felt ham and pineapple simply had "no place on pasta."

Others, meanwhile, appeared intent on watching the world burn suggesting: "Maybe drop an egg in and claim it is carbonara too."

Elsewhere, there was frustration at the recipe being branded "Hawaiian."

"Please. For the love of God stop putting pineapple in things and call it 'Hawaiian,'" they wrote. "No Hawaiians do that!"

While some attempted to argue that the meal was just a fun dish that could be made on a budget, Mazzei, who represents one of London's best chefs, rejected that claim.

"Surely if you want something simple, why not make a nice pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil?," he told Newsweek.

But while he was less than impressed with the recipe on offer, Mazzei said he's "got experimental with pineapple" before and the results have been good.

"I did once put it on my brunch menu at Radici, fresh grilled pineapple, pancakes, and pancetta, which proved very popular!"

A ham and pineapple spaghetti.
Stock image of a bowl of spaghetti - a recipe for a 'Hawaiian' ham and pineapple spaghetti dish has sparked controversy online. piyato/Getty