Updated: May 14
If you use my recipe site regularly, you might have seen my recipe for Japanese Spaghetti Napolitan. The origin of the Japanese version of this venerable pasta dish is an interesting subject in itself. (You can find that blog post by clicking Japanese style Spaghetti Napolitan). Somewhere down the line, this dish has also taken on an alternative English name - Japanese Ketchup Pasta - I'm not sure why - Spaghetti Napolitan sounds so much better! This was one of my favourite childhood recipes, I occasionally wind back the years by indulging in a plate of spaghetti napolitan when I am back in Japan.
I was last back in the autumn of 2022 and I ordered a plate of spaghetti napolitan in a tiny little restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo. It only took one mouthful for me to realise I was eating something a little bit different to what I was used to - something richer and well, just ever so, ever so nice. As the place wasn't too busy and I could see the chef at work in his little kitchen, I got his attention and told much I had enjoyed his food and how was he making it. It turned out that he was happy to divulge his secret and the secret was really pretty simple - some canned tomatoes and some cheddar cheese (imagine!) I left the place sceptical that it was that easy, so I tried it a few days later at my parents home and found out that what the chef had said as spot on - the canned tomatoes and cheddar cheese raise what is already a great, fast Japanese dish to another level. While the classic Japanese spaghetti napolitan is light and a little sweet (read: kid's favourite), what I now call the "Ultimate" version has much more depth of flavour, even perhaps a little umami - all-in-all, it's just a really tasty, satisfying way to enjoy a plate of spaghetti with minimum fuss and maxxed out flavour.
if this has you in the mood for trying something, quick, easily and utterly delicious, then you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Ultimate Japanese Spaghetti Napolitan or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
(makes 2 servings)
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/3 green bell pepper *
1/3 red bell pepper*
4 large button mushrooms
5 frankfurter style sausages
for the sauce:
1/2 tin of tomatoes, (200g / 7oz)
4 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tbsp of brown sauce (I use Bull-dog brown sauce but other brown sauces work too)
50g cheddar cheese
1 tbsp vegetable oil
salt & pepper
dried or fresh basil for garishing
*yellow bell pepper is fine too!
halve & slice the onion
slice the bell peppers
finely slice the clove of garlic
slice the mushrooms
diagonally slice the frankfurter sausages
spoon the tinned tomatoes in a bowl. add the 4 tbsp of tomato ketchup & 1 tbsp of brown sauce. if you are using uncopped tomatoes, gently mash them into a pulp. mix everything together well
grate the cheddar cheese into a second bowl
heat the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan. add all the vegetables and the frankfurters. stir fry for about 5 minutes over a medium heat or until the frankfurters are cooked. season with a little salt & pepper to taste
meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a saucepan according to the packet instructions, then drain
next, return to your frying pan. push the vegetables/frankfurters to the side of the pan. pour the sauce mixture into the middle and wait until it begins to simmer. now, mix the sauce and the vegetables/frankfurters together well. add the grated cheese, then the drained spaghetti. mix again until the cheese has melted
serve immediately. sprinkle with fresh or dried basil