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Spaghetti all'assassina

"Killer" Spaghetti


  • 200g 7 oz spaghetti

For the tomato broth

  • 1/2 tube tomato concentrate aka paste or 65g/2-1/2 oz
  • 50ml 1/8 cup  passata di pomodoro aka tomato purée 
  • 1 liter 1 quart water
  • salt to taste

For the initial sauté:

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1-2 red hot pepper, preferably fresh, finely minced (or a pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • 125ml 1/2 cup passata di pomodoro aka tomato purée 
  • olive oil


Preparing the tomato broth

  • First off, make your tomato broth. Pour the water into a sauce pan and add the tomato paste, purée and salt. Stir to dissolve the paste. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. 

Sautéing the pasta

  • While the broth is coming to the simmer, heat a cast iron or carbon steel skillet over brisk heat. The skillet should be wide enough so that your spaghetti can lie flat inside it. 
  • When the skillet is hot, add a very generous pour of olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the skillet entirely. Now add the minced garlic and hot pepper and let them sauté for just a few moments, until they give off their aroma. Add the tomato purée and stir it around to cover the bottom of the skillet. 
  • Now add your spaghetti to the skillet, lined up in a single layer or only slightly overlapping.
    Nudge them a bit with your wooden spoon to space them out a bit and cover them with the sauce in the skillet. 
  • Let the spaghetti go until you hear them sizzle and they caramelize underneath. Keep going until the spaghetti are slightly charred here and there. (Just how charred is a matter of taste.) 
    Using a spatula, flip the pasta over and let it caramelize on the other side as well. 

Simmering the pasta

  • Now pour over a ladleful of the tomato broth and let it cook off, always over a brisk heat. When you hear the pasta sizzle, flip it over and add another ladleful of the broth. 
  • At this point, the pasta should have softened enough that you can stir it around. Continue to add the tomato broth by the ladleful and letting it evaporate before adding the next ladleful, until the pasta al dente.
    Stir the pasta as you add more broth but don't 'fiddle' with it. (If you run out of tomato broth, you can add plain water that you've brought to the simmer.)
  • Once the pasta is al dente, let any remaining broth cook off until you hear the pasta sizzle. It should be a bright red and glisten with oil. 
  • Serve immediately.