Need a family meal ready in under 20 minutes? Try this quick and easy Japanese Ketchup Spaghetti, known as Napolitan. Home cooks and cafe restaurants all across Japan prepare this simple recipe that elevates pantry staples with fresh ingredients like sausages, mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper. It's a savory and satisfying dish!
Course: Main Course
Keyword: japanese napolitan, pasta
Author: Namiko Chen
½onion(3.5 oz or 100 g for 2 servings)
¼-½green bell pepper(2.5 oz or 70 g for 2 servings)
4mushrooms(2.5 oz or 70 g for 2 servings)
5ozsausages(I use 4-6 kurobuta or arabiki sausages from a Japanese grocery store, but you can use another type of sausage, ham, bacon, etc.)
1Tbspextra virgin olive oil
¼tspkosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
⅛tspfreshly ground black pepper
For the Sauce
⅓cupketchup(for the authentic flavor, get a bottle of Kagome Tomato Ketchup from the Japanese grocery store)
1tspsugar(optional; for an authentic Japanese taste)
¼cupreserved pasta water(you may not need all of it, so please add gradually)
For the Pasta
1½Tbspkosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
Gather all the ingredients. Start boiling a large pot of water (I use a 4 QT pot).
To Prepare the Ingredients
In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and mix them together.
Cut the onion into thin slices.
Cut the green bell pepper in half lengthwise (if it's long), and then cut into thin strips.
Cut the mushrooms into thin slices.
Cut the sausages diagonally into thin slices.
To Boil the Spaghetti
Once the water is boiling, add the salt and spaghetti. Stir to make sure the noodles don't stick to each other. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Toward the end of cooking, you will reserve some pasta cooking water.While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.
To Cook the Sauce
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. When it's hot, add the oil and distribute it evenly. Add the crushed garlic (I use this garlic press) 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.
Season with the salt and pepper.
Push the ingredients to one side and add the sauce mixture to the empty side of the pan. When the sauce starts to bubble and thicken, mix it together with the sausages and vegetables.
Now, scoop out some of the starchy cooking water from the pasta pot, about ¼ cup for 2 servings. Add roughly half of it to the pasta sauce, stirring well. Check the consistency of the sauce, and gradually add more reserved pasta water until the sauce is the consistency you like. You may not need all the pasta water that you saved.
Mix it all together and let the sauce simmer and reduce a bit.
By now, the spaghetti should be done cooking. Drain it well in a colander and add it to the pan with the sauce. Add the butter and toss to combine using tongs, making sure the sauce coats the pasta evenly.
Serve the Napolitan immediately on individual plates. Shave the Parmesan cheese over the pasta now or at the table.
You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for a month.