On April Fools’ Day 1957, the BBC current affairs programme ‘Panorama’, broadcast a hoax report on the fictitious ‘spaghetti tree’. It told the story of a family in southern Switzerland harvesting the spaghetti. Broadcast at a time when this Italian dish was not widely eaten in the UK and some Britons were unaware that spaghetti is a pasta made from wheat, flour and water.
Hundreds of viewers phoned into the BBC, either to say the story was not true, requesting more information or asking how to grow their own spaghetti trees!
Decades later CNN called this broadcast “the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”
To celebrate April Fool’s Day and the great spaghetti harvest, we have the perfect dish for you to whip up for tonight’s supper…
12 ounces spaghetti
4 small tomatoes, quartered
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups water, plus 1/2 cup if needed
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh burrata, to finish
fresh basil, to finish
Combine the pasta, tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, oil and water in a large heavy bottomed pan or pot (large enough to fit the pasta in without breaking).
Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring and flipping pasta with tongs until pasta is al dente and cooked through and water as nearly evaporated, about 8-9 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy hot with fresh burrata, basil, and a tiny drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
*If your pasta is too dry without it cooking all the way through, add in the extra 1/2 cup of water during the cooking time.