In Bologna, where many people believe the dish to be from, you're much more likely to find tagliatelle al ragù on a restaurant menu – thicker strands of pasta in a thinner tomato sauce.
Asking for spaghetti bolognese instead may not endear you to the locals. And now the mayor has apparently had enough.
Virginio Merola, of the centre-left Democratic Party, vented his fury on social media at foreign restaurants that “shamelessly” serve the popular pasta dish – which he branded “fake news.”
He shared a photo of a noticeboard advertising spag bol as the “specialty of house” (sic) at £6.95, saying the photo came from London.
Cari cittadini sto collezionando foto di #spaghetti alla bolognese in giro per il #mondo, a proposito di fake news. Questa arriva da #Londra. Se potete inviatemi le vostre ? Grazie! pic.twitter.com/3NnDfTQl0V
— Virginio Merola (@virginiomerola) February 25, 2019
Merola asked people on Twitter to share their own photos of spaghetti bolognese being sold around the world, saying he was collecting them for his campaign.
And he got plenty of replies.
One was outraged over what appears to be instant spaghetti bolognese in Copenhagen.
“I don't know what kind of crap is in it,” he wrote.
There was an entry from Moravia, Czech Republic, which had committed the double crime of advertising bolonske spagety, or spaghetti bolognese, and a surely-inauthentic lasagne.
Bolonske spagety: lavagnetta con menù del giorno di un locale sulla piazza di Telc in Moravia pic.twitter.com/cyXsLafV2Q
— Chingach Gook (@Chingach_gook) February 26, 2019
But one user pointed out that culinary horrors aren't only found outside of Italy.
“I'm more horrified by the menus of certain restaurants in Italy,” they wrote. “Tortellini in ragu. It sends a shiver down my spine.”
Provo più orrore quando leggo nei menù di certi ristoranti italiani (anche di un certo livello), tortellini al ragù. Li mi scende veramente un brivido lungo la schiena.
— Angel Mysterio (@acmysterio) February 26, 2019
And another shared a photo of his lunch, prepared by his mum using leftover ragu – penne pasta in what looks a lot like a bolognese sauce.
“Try telling her that it doesn't exist,” he challenged the mayor. “If you have the courage.”
Quando però in settimana andate a mangiare a casa di mamma, nella pausa lavoro, e vi fa trovare le Penne Rigate col Ragù fatto la domenica,
Ditelo pure a Lei che non esistono,
se ne avete il Coraggio….. pic.twitter.com/mmQjgDVLrb
— Adriano Cosentino???? (@Adricos2) February 26, 2019