Spaghetti all’assassina, aka assassin's spaghetti, is a popular cult recipe from Bari in Puglia which was featured on Stanley Tucci's Searching for Italy series. It is simply dried spaghetti cooked in a tomato passata (puree) broth using a method known as ‘risottata’This recipe defies almost all things we know about how to make a fabulous pasta dish. The spaghetti is crispy, spicy, even burnt in some spots and prepared like a tomato risotto. It's the closest recipe to "fried" pasta you'll find anywhere. And when it's summer, using your grill takes it to new levels. Our recipe is inspired by the original that originated in the city of Bari, in the Puglia (the boot) region of Italy. Puglia's spaghetti recommends a cast iron pan to get the right heat and the right stickiness to create charred parts on the noodles. And by immersing the spaghetti in a tomatoey broth for the duration of the cook, the noodles are completely infused with spicy, aromatic flavours. Best of all, it takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish.
400g spaghetti (half 900g package)
2 cups passata
1 tbsp Garlic olive oil
1/2 tbsp Cayenne olive oil
2 tbsp high-quality tomato paste (eg. Mutti)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 cups of water
1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
On medium heat, add Passata and water in medium pot. Stir to combine and bring broth to a simmer. In a 12 to 14" nonstick pan that's large enough to hold spaghetti noodles without breaking or bending, heat olive oils. Add tomato paste and cook until it begins to melt and toast. Ladle about 1/2 cup of hot tomato broth to pan. Carefuly place spaghetti on the surface of broth. Ladle 1 cup broth on top. Using a fork, separate strands to cover with broth. Cook for 3 minutes. Once broth is absorbed, add 1-1/2 cups broth and repeat. As spaghetti softens, move noodles to create an even layer in the pan. Repeat with 1-1/2 cups broth, and cook for another 3 minutes. Allow the broth to be absorbed and let the noodles fry in the pan. When they are sizzling, crispy and partially charred, flip the pasta noodles and continue cooking. Add the remaining broth and cook until al dente. Add basil. [If too firm, add a small amount water and continue cooking until al dente.] Serve immediately. Garnish with additional drizzles of Garlic and Cayenne olive oils, to taste.
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