By Janelle Davis, CNN. Recipe from Celso Laforgia, City Bistrot

Pasta is available in all types of shapes, sizes and sauces. However step one to cooking pasta has usually been a easy, tried-and-true course of: Drop the principle ingredient right into a pot of boiling salted water.

Spaghetti all’assassina, or murderer’s pasta, although, is about to make you query the whole lot you recognize about pasta.

When Italian chef Celso Laforgia dropped uncooked pasta right into a pan with oil and aromatics, however not a drop of water, Stanley Tucci was shocked.

“Truthfully, I’ve by no means seen something like that earlier than,” Tucci mentioned throughout an episode of “Searching for Italy.” “I like that. And I’ve been round, too.”

Laforgia is the chef and proprietor of Urban Bistrot in Bari, capital of Puglia in southeast Italy. He first cooks his pasta in olive oil with crushed crimson pepper flakes and garlic, then provides tomato sauce and eventually ladelfuls of water to create a spicy, partially burnt spaghetti dish.

The trick is to burn the pasta sufficient that it’s crunchy, caramelized and a little bit charred however not a lot that it’s bitter.

“When it crackles, you recognize it’s achieved,” Laforgia mentioned. “The pasta is speaking to you.”

Spaghetti all’assassina acquired its identify as a result of the primary one who tried the dish known as the chef a killer because it was so spicy, based on Laforgia.

“Celso’s cooking technique goes in opposition to the whole lot I find out about cooking pasta,” Tucci mentioned. He joked throughout his go to that the dish mirrors its individuals: fiery, uncompromising and rule breaking.

The dish is straightforward, however the method takes years to grasp. Laforgia makes 10 variations of the assassina, together with one changing the tomato with cream of broccoli rabe and topping it with creamy stracciatella, a Puglian cheese made out of buffalo’s milk.

Spaghetti all’assassina has a cultlike following in Bari, the place it originated within the Nineteen Seventies.

Spaghetti all’Assassina

(Murderer’s Spaghetti)

This spicy dish delivers explosive warmth. Chef Laforgia suggests no less than 16 grams (or 3 tablespoons) of crushed crimson pepper flakes to steadiness the flavors, however you’ll be able to regulate the warmth stage as desired.

Makes 4 servings


150 milliliters | ⅔ cup olive oil

3 complete garlic cloves, peeled

16 grams | 3 tablespoons crushed crimson pepper flakes, or to style (1 to five tablespoons)

Desk salt to style

400 grams | 1 pound dry spaghetti

150 grams | ⅔ cup tomato puree

Pinch of sugar


1. In a big sauté pan, add the olive oil, garlic cloves and crimson pepper flakes.

In a separate pan, boil about 4 liters (17 cups) of salted water.

2. Within the first pan, brown the garlic over excessive warmth for about 30 seconds after which add the uncooked spaghetti. Toast the pasta till it has reached a lightweight brown shade, then pour and unfold the tomato puree over the complete pan with a picket spoon. Stir in a pinch of sugar to right the acidity of the tomato puree. When the spaghetti begins to stay to the underside of the pan, flip it to the highest utilizing a heat-resistant spatula.

3. Pour a medium ladleful of the new salted water into the pan with the spaghetti and proceed to stir. As quickly because the water begins to simmer, let it relaxation. While you hear the sauce sizzle, flip the spaghetti that’s caught to the underside of the pan to the highest with the spatula.

4. Fastidiously flip the spaghetti, letting it stick a little bit to the underside of the pan. When the spaghetti begins to stay to the underside, flip it with a spatula to deliver it to the highest. Pour one other ladleful of water and proceed, as if you happen to had been making ready a risotto, till the pasta begins to crackle, 8 to 9 minutes.

5. When the pasta is prepared, serve instantly from the pan to the plate.

This recipe is courtesy of chef Celso Laforgia at City Bistrot in Bari, Italy.

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