Spaghetti all’ assassina is the “Assassin’s Spaghetti” or what I like to call the “Killer Pasta.” Why? Because this pasta has killed the way we make traditional spaghetti. Spaghetti all’ assassina is cooked in a pan and not boiling water, giving it a beautifully burnt and crunchy texture – a way you’ve never experienced pasta before.
The tomato sauce, (the “blood”) is simple and loaded with traditional Italian flavor, while the red-hot chilli gives this dish a spicy kick.
Originally from Bari and Puglia, spaghetti all’ assassina was popular in the 1960s but faded away in Southern Italian cooking. But now, it seems to be trending. This recipe brings all the amazing flavors of crispy Spaghetti all’assassina but I’ve added a twist at the end.
Vincenzo’s Plate Tips
Cook Pasta in a Cast Iron Skillet
In this dish, we cook the pasta in a pan instead of boiling water. If you own a cast iron skillet, this is the best pan to cook the spaghetti. If you don’t, you can use a large steel pan. Do not use a non-stick pan because it won’t give pasta the crispy and burnt texture we want. Make sure the pan is large enough that the pasta can lay flat inside the pan.
We Are Looking for Burned Pasta
Burning food in cooking is usually a bad thing, but not in Spaghetti all’ assassina, in fact it’s the number one rule, you must do it! We want to burn the pasta a little bit to get a toasted and crunchy spaghetti. If you begin to see a black, burned layer forming at the bottom of the pan while cooking, don’t be scared, this is exactly what we are looking for. We are “killing” the pasta to give it a perfect crunch.
Eyeball the Extra Virgin Olive Oil
When you add the extra virgin olive oil to your pan, be generous with it. I recommend about 10-15 tablespoons, but it doesn’t have to be exact. We just need a lot of olive oil in the pan to help us fry our pasta noodles.
Cook the Pasta For Less than 10 Minutes
Once the pasta is added to the skillet, the whole cooking process from start to finish should take a maximum of 8-10 minutes. Don’t move it around and stir while it’s cooking. Letting the pasta still and flat will help it become caramelized. You will have to roll it over once or twice to get an even crispy coating.
Slowly Add Tomato Concentrate
When adding the tomato concentrate to the pasta, slowly add a couple of ladles at a time. Adding a little sauce at a time will allow the pasta to feel the pan’s heat and get the burning, crispy texture it needs. Slowly add in the sauce and continue to pour in more as the pasta absorbs it.
How To Serve Spaghetti All’ Assassina
Once your pasta is nice and crispy, remove it from the pan with tongs and put it on a plate. Use the tongs to help swirl the pasta into a small mountain. Now it’s time to drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top to give it a bit of added flavor. Add a little black pepper as well.
Finally, the modern twist: a dollop of Stracciatella cheese. Spaghetti all’ assassina is spicy and crunchy, but the Stracciatella cheese brings a refreshing and creamy texture that takes this dish to the next level!
Spaghetti All’ Assassina
- 1 large pot
- 1 Cast iron skillet or large steel pan
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 Chopping-board
- 1 knife
- 1 Ladle
- Metal tongs
- Measuring spoons and cups
- 300 g Spaghetti 11oz
- 1-2 red hot chilli peppers
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 150 g Tomato concentrate 5oz
- ½ Bottle of tomato passata
- Salt as much as required
- Pepper as much as required
- Extra virgin olive oil as much as required
- Stracciatella cheese as much as preferred
How to cook Spaghetti all’ assassina
- Bring 1 liter (4 cups) of water to boil in a large pot.
- Once boiling, add the tomato concentrate to the pot and cook for less than 10 minutes and then take off heat and put to the side.
- Cut the red hot chilli pepper into nice thin strips and finely chop the garlic cloves.
- In a cast iron skillet or large steel pan, add about 10-15 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
- Bring the pan up to high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and the chilli pepper into the olive oil and cook for 20 seconds.
- Add the tomato passata to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring to help reduce the sauce. Keep the pan on high heat and let the sauce create bubbles.
- Add the spaghetti into the pan by putting it down in a flat, even layer and begin to push the sauce on top of the pasta and cook for about 4 minutes.
- Roll over your pasta to start cooking the other side.
- Next, begin to slowly add the sauce from the tomato concentrate and water into the pan, but don’t move the pasta. Let it sink flat in the pan and cook.
- Add a little rock salt and a generous amount of pepper into the pan and periodically push the sauce back on top of the pasta while you cook.
- Push the pasta closer together and continue to cook as the pasta will continue to absorb the sauce.
- Let the spaghetti cook for 1-2 minutes without much sauce in the pan to help the pasta get crispy.
- Then, continue to add in the tomato concentrate sauce. The pasta should be cooked for a maximum of 8-10 minutes from the moment it is in the pan.
- Stir the pasta and spread it out around the pan so it starts to toast and get a little extra crunchiness.
- Put extra virgin olive oil over top of the past then remove it from the pan and plate it up.
- Top with extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, and a dollop of Stracciatella cheese.
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate….Enjoy!
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