A great new spaghetti recipe thanks to Stanley Tucci

Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy on CNN is a food-lovers’ delight. And if you’re Italian-American as I am, it’s also a wonderful homage to the cooking you remember as a child and to the cooking of regions of Itlay you’ve never been to as well.

I was inspired to try to recreate a dish on his recent show about foods of the Puglia region of Italy, a dish called Spaghetti all’assassina, or assassin’s pasta.

My wife and I made it just from watching the show, estimating amounts on our own. It turned out great, and was so quick to make that we plan to add it to our pasta favorites. We created a short video on how I did it, just click on it below.

And if you need a proper recipe to try it, Tucci’s show has that for you, just click here.

To save you the click,


150 milliliters | ⅔ cup olive oil

3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

16 grams | 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (1 to 5 tablespoons) [we used much less than this]

Table salt to taste [leave out the salt]

400 grams | 1 pound dry spaghetti [we used about three-quarters of angel hair pasta]

150 grams | ⅔ cup tomato puree

Pinch of sugar


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

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

The two things you need for the dish is a powerful fire and a big pan that will fit the spaghetti.

2. In the first pan, brown the garlic over high heat for about 30 seconds and then add the raw spaghetti. Toast the pasta until it has reached a light brown color, then pour and spread the tomato puree over the entire pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in a pinch of sugar to correct the acidity of the tomato puree. When the spaghetti starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, flip it to the top using a heat-resistant spatula.

3. Pour a medium ladleful of the hot salted water into the pan with the spaghetti and continue to stir. As soon as the water begins to simmer, let it rest. When you hear the sauce sizzle, flip the spaghetti that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan to the top with the spatula.

The trick to the dish is to burn it enough to make it crunchy, but not burn it so much that it’s bitter.

4. Carefully turn the spaghetti, letting it stick a little to the bottom of the pan. When the spaghetti starts to stick to the bottom, flip it with a spatula to bring it to the top. Pour another ladleful of water and continue, as if you were preparing a risotto, until the pasta starts to crackle, 8 to 9 minutes.

5. When the pasta is ready, serve immediately from the pan to the plate.

When the pasta makes a crackling noise, you know it’s ready.

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


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