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Spaghetti all'assassina

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Christina Georgina

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Spaghetti all'assassina

by Christina Georgina » Sat Jun 03, 2023 10:45 am

Not sure this technique has been discussed here in the past. https://memoriediangelina.com/2023/06/0 ... spaghetti/ I have been making this for the past year or so and it's always a hit because of depth of flavors and unusual textures. You must use passata, uncooked tomato puree. I like the Mutti brand.
I also like the blog Memorie di Angelina, many great recipes and information. Half of my family is from the Campania region.
Mamma Mia !
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jenise » Sat Jun 03, 2023 1:47 pm

I have not made this as my awareness of the technique (from an episode of Stanley Tucci's show on CNN) occurred during my recent abstinence of carbs, but I'm totally fascinated by it and can't wait to try it out. Happy to have a name for the dish as well as a recipe. Agree about the Mutti brand, btw. As soon as I get out of jail, I'm on it!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jun 03, 2023 2:16 pm

Thanks for the link, Christina. I'm aware of the dish but have not made it. I have to schedule it for one of my stag evenings; I don't spring too many experiments on Pumpkin.

A side note, though: The author remarks "appealingly crispy texture unlike any other Italian pasta I know" but there are others. One that I have made is basotti. It's made of tagliolini layered into a brownie pan (or the ilk), add broth to cover, and lots of cheese, butter, and bread crumbs. When baked, the top is brown and crispy and the under layers are chewy. I first heard about it from Francine Segan, whose recipe I found here: https://www.deliciousitaly.com/emilia-r ... -romagnoli

And, if little old ladies making pasta is amusing, I also found basotti on Pasta Grannies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMJudjK0kNo
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jenise » Sat Jun 03, 2023 8:32 pm

Jeff, first of all, what's DOP cheese? And secondly, the nutmeg as listed is a problem.

ingredients
Butter or lardo, 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs, 8 ounces Tagliolini pasta, Grana Padano DOP cheese, 1 1/2 cups freshly grated nutmeg, 4 cups home-made or best quality chicken or pork broth
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Dale Williams » Sat Jun 03, 2023 10:31 pm

DOP is equivalent of AOC etc, basically just means "real thing".
And yes, that's a bit too much nutmeg! :)
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Jun 04, 2023 2:22 pm

Oh, my. I have a version from one of her in-person classes and it just says "Nutmeg". I'd say a teaspoon is about enough. :lol:

On that same topic, if you find the Pasta Grannies episode in which the grannie makes a pumpkin filling, she grates an entire nutmeg into it. Yipes!
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Jun 04, 2023 2:23 pm

Dale Williams wrote:DOP is equivalent of AOC etc, basically just means "real thing".

What he said. :wink:
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jenise » Sun Jun 04, 2023 5:17 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:Oh, my. I have a version from one of her in-person classes and it just says "Nutmeg". I'd say a teaspoon is about enough. :lol:

On that same topic, if you find the Pasta Grannies episode in which the grannie makes a pumpkin filling, she grates an entire nutmeg into it. Yipes!


For those quantities, I'd probably stop at half a tsp. It's potent.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jenise » Mon Jun 05, 2023 5:07 pm

Here's the version Stanley Tucci encountered in Puglia:

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/tucc ... index.html
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Dale Williams » Tue Jun 06, 2023 3:40 pm

Thanks for link.
I just watched my first Searching for Italy episodes on recent plane trip (Venice, Calabria, London, Piedmont, Umbria) - made me want to catch first season.
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jenise » Sun Jul 16, 2023 12:47 pm

Jenise wrote:I have not made this as my awareness of the technique (from an episode of Stanley Tucci's show on CNN) occurred during my recent abstinence from carbs, but I'm totally fascinated by it and can't wait to try it out. Happy to have a name for the dish as well as a recipe. Agree about the Mutti brand, btw. As soon as I get out of jail, I'm on it!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Dec 16, 2023 1:17 am

Jesus Mary and Joseph! I made this dish tonight and nobody reminds you what happens when you add a ladle of passata, mixed with water, to a pan full of hot oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

A mushroom cloud of tomato-scented steam and water droplets arose from the pan and spattered everything within six inches of the hob!

No harm done to me, I knew to step back but I did not expect the vigor of the reaction.

The pasta is really good, very different from boiled noodles. But not sure I'm going to make this very often... takes too long to wipe down the stove top afterward.
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Bill Spohn » Sat Dec 16, 2023 10:55 am

That is craaaazy - but I want to try it!
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Paul Winalski » Sat Dec 16, 2023 3:59 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:Jesus Mary and Joseph! I made this dish tonight and nobody reminds you what happens when you add a ladle of passata, mixed with water, to a pan full of hot oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

A mushroom cloud of tomato-scented steam and water droplets arose from the pan and spattered everything within six inches of the hob!

Something similar happens at the start of the second (closed-pan steaming) phase of making Chinese pot sticker dumplings. You've been browning the bottoms of the dumplings in hot oil in a skillet and then you add 1/2 cup hot water. I always have the skillet cover ready in my other hand so that I can slam it down on the skillet as soon as the water is poured in. Otherwise you can get a real mess.

-Paul W.
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Dec 16, 2023 7:25 pm

Bill- Both the texture and the flavor are really interesting. The pasta gets chewy without being gluey, and, of course, our friend Maillard (and his cousin, Caramel) had something to say about the flavors in the sauce. Despite calling for quite a bit of red pepper this dish was not hot at all and I will use more next time (if there is a next time).

Paul- I'll remember that!

I'm reminded of one other time a recipe surprised me: Lobster bisque. After pulling the meat, the recipe said to break up the shells, put them in the pot, and flame them with a little brandy. The next line of the recipe begins, and I quote: "When the flames subside...."

Insufficient hint: When I set the match, about 5' of flames shot straight up out of the pot. Again, no harm done to me -- or my kitchen ceiling -- but I was more than a little surprised.
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jenise » Sun Dec 17, 2023 10:17 am

Jeff, can't remember what in the hell I was making, but I was in Holland cooking for a small dinner party in which all the guests were around the dining room table adjacent to the typical tiny Dutch kitchen I was working in. I poured something in the skillet which immediately and totally unexpectedly set off foot-high flames. It scared me to death but I struggled to remain calm. When the flames died, I turned to the group and said, "I planned that." Big laugh cuz obviously I had not!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Karen/NoCA » Sun Dec 17, 2023 11:46 am

I wonder if Christina could comment on the cloud effect Jeff had with the recipe. I would like to avoid that explosion as I hate stove messes.
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Paul Winalski » Sun Dec 17, 2023 1:59 pm

Julia Child's recipe for coq au vin says to flambee the chicken after browning it in the fat rendered from the lardons. The step is optional but Julia recommends it because it does add a tiny element of flavor, but mostly it's just fun to do. I didn't need Julia's caution not to pour the brandy directly from the bottle, but I was not expecting a three-foot flame. Fortunately I was using a foot-long butane-powered grill lighter for ignition.

-Paul W.
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jeff Grossman » Fri Jan 12, 2024 2:49 am

All righty. I have made this again, with modifications.

After a careful re-reading of the recipe, I decided that its just nonsense to cook the garlic and red pepper flakes in so much oil and THEN throw the whole rest of the dish on top of it. Yes, it's great to activate these flavors so I put them in the simmering tomato sauce. That should get the flavor into the food eventually without a mushroom cloud over my skillet.

So, this time, in the pot with the passata goes a thinly-sliced clove of garlic, two tsp red pepper flakes, and just a glug of EVOO. After a few minutes, I start the wetting-charring-stirring process on the spaghetti. No spatters and better caramelization than last time. And the texture is still good.

The only puzzling thing is that the garlic and red pepper seemed to just vanish. No trace of the flavors at all. I think I have to really load it up -- only 4 oz pasta so how much should one need? -- to survive the hot pan.

And, best of all, Pumpkin comes out of his Zoom meeting and asks, "What smells so good?"
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Rahsaan » Fri Jan 12, 2024 8:58 am

Jeff Grossman wrote:So, this time, in the pot with the passata goes a thinly-sliced clove of garlic, two tsp red pepper flakes, and just a glug of EVOO...caramelization...

And, best of all, Pumpkin comes out of his Zoom meeting and asks, "What smells so good?"


Yes, tomato, garlic and olive oil have a way of often being the answer to that question of what smells so good!!
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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Paul Winalski » Fri Jan 12, 2024 3:46 pm

Cooking aromatics and spices briefly in hot oil is a key part of many Sichuan dishes. It is also a key step for many Indian dishes, particularly dals, to prepare the aromatics/spice mixture called a tarka or chaunk. The idea is to extract the volatile aromatic oils and have them flavor the cooking oil. But in neither the Sichuan nor the Indian case is a lot of liquid poured onto the sizzling spices.

-Paul W.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Spaghetti all'assassina

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 13, 2024 3:42 pm

Thanks, Paul. Maybe I'll adjust again: activate the garlic and pepper in oil but then tip the flavored oil into the saucepot. I can then paper towel the pan and proceed without kaboom.

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