Italian Pasta Recipes

The Killer Dish from the South of Italy: SPAGHETTI ALL’ASSASSINA

Also known as Spaghetti Bruciati (burnt spaghetti), this is a typical dish from the province of Bari which, despite only appearing on the tables of restaurants and trattorias in the 70s and 80s, has much older origins.

There are various theories about this dish, on which the way it is cooked also depends.

Some think it was born as a recycled dish cooked with leftovers from the day before, while others claim it was ‘invented’ by a housewife called to prepare a dish for unexpected guests using a kind of risotto but replaced with spaghetti.






  • 14 oz of spaghetti
  • 4 cups of tomato puree
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • chilli pepper
  • a pinch of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste



We start by cooking the tomato puree with a little oil and a pinch of salt.

Let it reduce and, if you want, add a pinch of sugar to decrease the acidity of the tomato.

In a saucepan, pour the water and 4 ladles of the reduced sauce, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil.

In a large frying pan, over a low heat, toast the spaghetti, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. As soon as they are coloured, add the crushed garlic clove, the chopped chilli pepper (or if you prefer, the whole chilli pepper) and a generous amount of oil.

When the spaghetti starts to sizzle, add two ladles of water and tomato sauce and let it cook, moving it around as little as possible.

As the water is absorbed, continue adding more water and tomato.

When the spaghetti starts to soften, we can add the sauce, a little at a time.

Let the spaghetti cook, adding water, tomato and sauce alternately.

Stir them as little as possible and let them stick to the surface of the pan.

When ready, remove the garlic and add the last ladle of sauce.

Turn up the heat so that the pasta sticks to the bottom and burns a little.

Then we serve the pasta on a plate and add a drizzle of spicy oil or, if you prefer, a chilli pepper.

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