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 every part you realize 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.

“Actually, I’ve by no means seen something like that earlier than,” Tucci stated throughout an episode of “Searching for Italy.” “I really 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 at last 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 slightly charred however not a lot that it’s bitter.

“When it crackles, you realize it’s finished,” Laforgia stated. “The pasta is speaking to you.”

Spaghetti all’assassina obtained its identify as a result of the primary one that tried the dish known as the chef a killer because it was so spicy, in keeping with Laforgia.

“Celso’s cooking methodology goes in opposition to every part I learn about cooking pasta,” Tucci stated. 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 constructed from 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 a minimum of 16 grams (or 3 tablespoons) of crushed crimson pepper flakes to steadiness the flavors, however you possibly can modify the warmth stage as desired.

Makes 4 servings


150 milliliters | ⅔ cup olive oil

3 entire 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 light-weight brown coloration, then pour and unfold the tomato puree over all the pan with a wood spoon. Stir in a pinch of sugar to appropriate 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. Once you hear the sauce sizzle, flip the spaghetti that’s caught to the underside of the pan to the highest with the spatula.

4. Rigorously flip the spaghetti, letting it stick slightly to the underside of the pan. When the spaghetti begins to stay to the underside, flip it with a spatula to carry it to the highest. Pour one other ladleful of water and proceed, as in case you had been getting 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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