Updated: Sep 29, 2021
Here is a Japanese dish that is guaranteed to have Italian nonnas everywhere raising their hands to the heavens and crying, "Mama Mia!"
Why? Because instead of an Italian passata style sauce, this recipe uses tomato ketchup.
Yes, ketchup and it works really well. It doesn't take too much guesswork to figure out why ketchup is used once you know a little bit of the history behind this dish.
During the US occupation of Japan after World War II, a lot of local restaurants wanted to grab the trade of US servicemen - after all, the Japanese had no money and the American had lots of mighty dollars. It turned out that what a lot of these Americans boys wanted was spaghetti. The problem for the Japanese restauranteur was getting hold of passata or even tomato juice. But what they could get hold of, often by some shady dealings with US Army personnel, was imported ketchup. But it doesn't stop there. Another problem was getting minced beef. So another substitute was found...tinned frankfurters (US Army to the rescue again!)
Over 70 years later, you'll still find this dish on the menu of cafes the length and breadth of Japan. It's quick to make and kids (young and old) love it.
So why not cast your conceptions aside for a while and give it a try - your kids will thank you for it! You can find the written recipe just below and for the Youtube tutorial click Spaghetti Napolitan or you can scroll to the bottom of the page.
happy cooking! kurumi XXXX.
The Japanese are big fans of pasta. Why not browse some other Japanese pasta dishes like my Miso Tuna Spagetti?
Japanese style Spaghetti Napolitan
(makes 2 servings)
150g spaghetti (dry weight)
1 clove, garlic
1 small onion (approx. 100g)
40g green pepper
40g yellow pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
5 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp bull-dog sauce
1/8 tsp pepper
40g grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
halve & thinly slice the onion
do the same with the peppers and mushrooms
slice the frankfurters diagonally into 1.5 - 2 cm pieces
bring a pan of water & cook the spaghetti for 8-10 mins, then drain
heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan, stir fry the garlic & onion for 1 min
add & stir fry the peppers & mushrooms for 1 min
add fry the frankfurters for 4 mins, then add the spaghetti, ketchup & bull-dog sauce and mix everything together well
sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve