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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Assassin's Spaghetti (Spaghetti all'Assassina)

Spaghetti all'Assassina is a beloved cult recipe from Bari, Puglia's capital city. It's incredibly unique in the way that it's prepared: instead of boiling the pasta separately then merging it with the sauce, the pasta cooks in the sauce, almost risotto-style. The result is toasted pasta with caramelized sauce - it creates a sweet depth of flavor and richness that is hard to believe came from a simple one pan dish. 

Be sure to stand back or wear an apron while making this dish, or you will ‘kill’ your clothes with splatters. But trust us - it's worth it.


Assassin's Spaghetti (Spaghetti all'Assassina)

Rated 5.0 stars by 1 users

Prep Time

5 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes



Image of Assassin's Spaghetti (Spaghetti all'Assassina)



  1. In a measuring cup combine 1 cup marinara with 1 cup of water and the salt. Set aside.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil to the hot pan along with the red pepper flakes and spaghetti. Using a tongs or a wooden spoon, turn the pasta round in the spicy oil, toasting slightly, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of just marinara (not the marinara mixed with water) to the pasta and toss. cook, undisturbed until beginning to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Toss again and repeat the process.

  3. Add 1 cup of the marinara water mixture and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally until the liquid is almost entirely absorbed, the pasta is softening, and the sauce is beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Listen to your pasta, the sound will change from a boiling sound to a frying sound. Toss well, bringing the toasted pasta up from the bottom of the pan to the top. Add another 1 cup of marinera water and repeat the process. Add another 1/2 cup water and stir to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the pasta to fry until deeply caramelized in spots, another 4 minutes. Serve the pasta topped with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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