Have you ever had pasta so good that it had to be called killer pasta? Well, that’s what spaghetti all’assassina is! This delicious recipe is a traditional dish from Bari, a city in Southern Italy in the Puglia region. Although the name makes it sound fancy, it’s actually quite a simple dish. Its preparation is what makes it so amazing!
Spaghetti all’assassina is made with the raw spaghetti cooked in tomato passata broth using a method called risottata, much like risotto is made. The final result is spaghetti that’s a little but burnt and caramelized, spicy, and crispy. It’s hard to describe but it’s absolutely delicious! It will sometimes be served with stracciatella cheese on top for a creamy balance.
So how do you make spaghetti all’assassina? It’s surprisingly simple to do.
What You Need
320g spaghetti (or vermicelli)
400g tomato passata (homemade or store bought is fine)
2-3 garlic gloves
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 red chili pepper (peperoncino), or 1/2 tablespoon flakes
1-2 teaspoons sugar
100 ml olive oil
stracciatella cheese, optional for serving
What To Do
Begin with the brothy sauce: use about 2/3 of the passata and dilute it with water so that the ratio is 1:1. Add in the tomato paste and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat and allow it to simmer. Make sure that the broth is very hot before adding in the spaghetti.
In an iron pan, saute the garlic and red chili pepper in olive oil. Next, add in the undiluted 1/3 of the passata left over. This might end up spitting so make sure to do this carefully and avoid burning yourself. Add sugar as needed to balance out the tomato sauce.
Spread the passata all over the pan and once it has reduced to become thicker, add the spaghetti in. Wait for the bottom of the spaghetti to start caramelizing before turning it over. Use a spatula and work slowly. Once the other side has begun to crisp, ladle in a bit of the hot tomato broth. Add it on the sides instead of on top of the pasta to make sure it stays crispy.
The spaghetti will begin to soften up, and now you can stir it gently around the pan using a wooden spoon. Move any strands that are stuck to the bottom so the sauce can spread on the pan and reduce down again. Repeat this step until spaghetti has reached al dente consistency. If you need more liquid but have used all of the tomato broth, you can use a little bit of water.
Your spaghetti all’assassina is now ready to be served! Add in stracciatella, roasted cherry tomatoes, basil, or anything else you’d like as garnish. Enjoy!