Need a family meal that can be ready in 30 minutes? Try this Japanese ketchup spaghetti recipe with bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, and sausage.
Ketchup spaghetti?! Yes, it’s a spaghetti recipe that is seasoned mainly with ketchup. This ketchup flavored pasta is popular and widely available at cafe restaurants in Japan and we call it Spaghetti Napolitan (スパゲッティーナポリタン).
From what I can find on the web, the recipe is originated in Japan (please let me know if Spaghetti Neapolitan exists in Italy). I want to share this recipe because I had received several requests from readers. They all referred to this dish as “Ketchup Pasta” hence I called it Ketchup Spaghetti.
Origin of Spaghetti Napolitan
There are a few theories of how Spaghetti Napolitan (or Naporitan) or Ketchup Spaghetti originated. The strongest theory is that it’s originated in Yokohama during the post war. Around 1950s, the head chef at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama created this recipe when he was inspired by the spaghetti and tomato sauce dish served for the American military. Since tomato sauce was a rare ingredient, so ketchup was used as a substitute for the pasta. He then named it Spaghetti Napolitan, or napoli, after Naples, Italy.
Around the same time, Japan started to open itself to the world and new ideas from the west were considered fashionable. These newly westernized dishes like Spaghetti Meat Sauce and Spaghetti Napolitan received amazing responses that they became mainstays in the cafes and Japanese home kitchens. Until these days, the two dishes are still two of the most popular western influenced pastas in Japan.
The genius about Spaghetti Napolitan is it utilizes most of the pantry staples at your kitchen. The common ingredients include onion, mushrooms, green bell peppers, and sausages (ham or bacon). It’s seasoned with ketchup and Parmesan cheese, and served with Tabasco sauce. There’s flexibility in the recipe too, so you can throw in whatever happens to be in-season or on-hand in your kitchen. This dish is really easy to make and the flavor is kids-friendly. It makes the ideal meal for quick dinner if you have a family with young children. My kids often scream ‘Ketchup Spaghetti’ when I ask what kind of pasta they would like for dinner. I hope you will give this ketchup spaghetti recipe a try. Trust me, it’s delicious!
Now let’s go over the recipe first before my husband Shen talks about his review on the wine that we pair up with Ketchup Pasta.
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- 7 oz spaghetti (7 oz = 200 g)
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ - ½ onion
- 6 sausages (I use Japanese “kurobuta” (black pork) sausages) or 2 Italian sausages)
- 1 bell pepper
- 4-6 mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (freshly ground)
- 4 Tbsp Ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp sugar (optional)
- 1-3 Tbsp reserved pasta water
- salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Gather all the ingredients.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic clove and slice onion, sausages, bell pepper and mushrooms.
- In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, just until golden and fragrant.
- Add the onions to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- When the onions are wilted, add the sausages and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the bell peppers and mushrooms and sauté until everything is cooked.
- Add the Sauce ingredients: Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar (optional). When the sauce thickens, add the pasta cooking water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- As soon as the pasta is cooked and drained, add to the pan and toss to combine using tongs.
- Add the milk and Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Serve immediately in warmed plates.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
We enjoy drinking wine with our pasta dinner. The acidity of wine refreshes the palate from the pasta sauce. Recently we paired the Pfendler 2011 Pinot Noir with ketchup it worked out very well. The pinot was very smooth yet surprisingly complex for a young wine. Typically young wines do not have so many layers of deliciousness. It is an earthy pinot with just a hint of berries and very slight acidity. The winemaker describe it with layers of tea leaves, and dark chocolate and I couldn’t agree more. The flavor leans towards spice rather fruity for a pinot and I would highly recommend to drink this with cheese or other strong flavored food.
Please note: We received no compensation for this review. We received a bottle of Pfendler 2011 Pinor Noir from Jarvis Communications free of charge to use in exchange for an honest review.