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Spaghetti all’Assassina or Assassins Pasta

Spaghetti all’assassina also known as bruciati is a fab one-pot pasta dish that’s cooked with a tomato broth in a way reminiscent of risotto.

Also known as killer’s spaghetti this spicy tomato dish takes a little practice but it is easy and comes together in around 20-25 minutes.

Close-up one-pot spicy fried spaghetti all assissina or bruciati.

One-Pot Fried Tomato Spaghetti

Spaghetti all’assassina is also known as bruciati and it is simply delicious and rocks an unusual cooking technique.

My site is littered with tomato pasta dishes, everything from takes on well-known dishes like pasta puttanesca and penne arrabbiata to made-up dishes like my tuna tomato pasta.

They all have a similar cooking technique, make a tomato sauce, boil pasta and then combine.

This dish is very different, raw spaghetti is fried in a thick tomato passata base and then a tomato “broth” is added little by little until the pasta is cooked.

If you think that this sounds familiar, then you would be right. It’s pretty much how a risotto is cooked.

The dish originated in Bari in Southeast Italy and the Assassins or Killer name refers to it being a bit pokey when it comes to spice!

It delivers a real kick and the unusual cooking technique delivers an almost caramelised outer coating to the spaghetti.

This dish requires a bit of patience and practice, it probably took me longer to get this dish right than any of my other pasta dishes! The key is the pan temperature, too hot and the sauce and pasta will burn, not hot enough and you don’t get the nice caramelised bits.

“On a ceramic hob, I have to use “level 5” on my induction hob it is “level 3” but all hobs and pans will differ slightly.

Overhead one-pot spicy fried spaghetti all assissina or bruciati.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is passata?

This question is often asked by US visitors to my site.

Passata is nothing more than sieved tomatoes, it is often called tomato puree in the US. However you need to be vigilant during your purchase, some tomato purees are cooked to thicken them.

I understand that the Mutti brand is available in the US and it should be labelled passata and will be perfect in this dish.

If you are from Europe, you can usually find passata in the same aisle as the tinned tomatoes.

What sort of spaghetti should I use?

It is generally recommended not to use bronze die-cut spaghetti because it contains too much starch. This inhibits the caramelisation.

You are looking for spaghetti with a smooth surface rather than a rough surface.

My pasta does not fit in the pan is that ok?

No, you need the spaghetti to sit on the base of the pan!

I use a 35cm or 14″ pan (my largest) and depending on the brand of spaghetti it is often too small.

This is sacrilege to many, but I snap a couple of centimetres from the end of the spaghetti before cooking.

How hot is this pasta dish?

That all depends on your choice of chilli! But, you should remember that what was considered “hot” in Europe 20-30 years ago is now relatively tame.

I use a lot of chilli in this dish, but in comparison to some of the global dishes I cook, it is still relatively mild.

One-pot spicy fried spaghetti all assissina or bruciati.

Serving Suggestions

I usually keep my sides for pasta dishes simple and serve them as a light meal.

This spaghetti all’assassina is no different, garlic bread or a cheesy garlic bread is usually my go-to option.

Although some tasted ciabatta or even a nice spice of rosemary focaccia are nice options too.

I rarely serve pasta as a side, it just doesn’t do anything for me. But the unique texture of this spicy pasta recipe lends itself to serving it with something meaty.

I’m particularly fond of serving it with a “schnitzel” of some description.

Cottoletta alla Milanese would be the obvious choice, but I’ve served it with Polish kotlet schabowy too and it was superb.

Close-up overhead one-pot spicy fried spaghetti all'assissina or bruciati.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Hob/Stovetop.
  • 15cm or 6″ saucepan.
  • 35cm or 14″ frying pan or skillet (not nonstick if possible).
  • Ladle.
  • Kitchen tongs and spatulas.
  • Chopping board.
  • Weighing scales and or a combination of a measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Fried spaghetti all assissina or killers pasta garnished with fresh chilli, basil and parmesan cheese.
Yield: 2 Servings

Spaghetti all'Assassina Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

The unusual but gloriously delicious Spaghetti all'assassina comes from Bari in South East Italy. It features spaghetti fried in a spicy tomato base and it is then cooked in a tomato broth in a similar way as risotto and delivers a magical texture of almost "caramelised" pasta.


  • 200g (7oz) Spaghetti
  • 375ml (1½ Cups) Water
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Medium Hot Red Chilli Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 400g (∼2 Cups) Tomato Passata
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ⅛ Tsp Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil to Garnish
  • Fresh Chilli to Garnish
  • Parmesan to Garnish (Omit or substitute if you are vegan )


  1. Place the water in a small 15cm or 6" saucepan with half (200g) of the passata and add the salt, sugar, and black pepper. Stir, bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and bash them with the side of a knife to break them open.
  3. Dice the fresh chilli pepper as finely as you can, you can remove the seeds if you like.
  4. Heat a large (35cm or 14") shallow pan over a medium to low heat and when it is hot add the olive oil.
  5. Throw in the garlic cloves and cook them until they begin to go golden at the edges.
  6. Add the fresh and dried chilli flakes and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
  7. Pour in the remaining 200g of tomato passata and add the tomato puree, then stir to form a sauce, cooking it for a couple of minutes until it thickens
  8. Remove and discard the garlic cloves, then spread the thickened passata over the base of the pan.
  9. Add the spaghetti spreading it as close as you can get to an even layer. Then allow it to sit on the base of the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Flip the pasta with a spatula and fry it for another 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add a ladle of the tomato broth and cook until the tone of the cooking changes and the pasta begins to fry again. Add another ladle or two of stock repeating the process a 1 ladle at a time as you would with a risotto ensuring that the spaghetti continues to caramelise between each addition.
  12. Continue to cook until the pasta is nicely al dente, this will take around 9-12 minutes and leave you with some lovely caramelised bits.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 689Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 706mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 17g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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