Spaghetti all’assassina is having a moment. Everyone loves crispy bits, and we love any excuse to purposely create them in the name of gastronomy. In this recipe, you “assassinate” your thinnest pasta by scorching it on the bottom of the pan before you finish adding all the sauce. This creates a crunchy contrast and deep savory notes. While the texture may be the all-star of this dish, tomato concentrate is the underdog. All you need is a teaspoon to make those crunchy strands taste even more umami and delicious. We used Spaghettini Martelli to nail the “al dente” crispy texture in a matter of minutes. If you have more time, the thicker Spaghetti is a great alternative for a more chewy + dense mouthfeel.
Recipe adapted from the New York Times
TIME: 20 minutes
- Tomato passata, 250ml / 1 cup
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 Tbsp
- Peperoncini, to taste, minced
- Garlic clove, one, germ removed and minced
- Tomato Concentrate, 1 heaping teaspoon
- Spaghettini Martelli, 225g / 8 oz
- In a medium pan, combine the passata with 250 ml / 1 cup water and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or similar over medium heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil, then the minced garlic and peperoncini. Cook for one minute, then add the tomato concentrate and spread it around the pan, dissolving it into the other ingredients.
- Add a ladleful of the diluted passata to the pan and stir to combine.
- Arrange the pasta in a single layer on top of the sauce, then pour an additional cup or so of the diluted passata to the pan. Move the spaghettini about so they’re evenly coated in sauce. Allow to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
- Add another cup of diluted passata, moving the strands of spaghettini to create an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Cook an additional 2 minutes, until the spaghettini is beginning to char and form crispy bits. Flip the pasta, exposing the almost-burnt strands, and gradually add more passata until al dente.
- Divide between two bowls and serve with an additional drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.