Delicious spaghetti napolitan, a popular Japanese post-war culinary classic!
Let’s see: pasta, ketchup, butter and sausage…
It is so easy to make and so good!
I am an absolute sucker for ketchup.
How about you?
I often make my own ketchup at home.
However a couple of weeks ago I was offered a great collaboration with a Belgian ketchup brand.
It is called Brussels Ketjep.
If I was interested to work with one of their sauces?
And make a funky recipe with it?
I said yes of course!
Brussels Ketjep doesn’t only make ketchup though.
Other sauces are also available.
Mayonnaise of course but also brava sauce, mustard, Dallas and cowboy sauce to name just a few. Brussels Ketjep sent me a box of their sauces for me to try out and believe me, they are all absolutely delicious!
And started brainstorming about what recipe I could make with their Brussels Ketjep ketchup.
I had seen a few recipes by fellow influencers on Instagram.
Ribs, dipping sauces, wings, burgers, fries, marinades, wraps.
So I decided to do something totally different.
Japanese Ketchup Spaghetti Napolitan (スパゲッティナポリタン)
I went for a pasta recipe.
Something totally unexpected, a meal you would perhaps never think of.
And that is why I decided to make a delicious Japanese “Spaghetti Naporitan”, a popular post-war classic back in the days over there!
But before we move on to the recipe, let’s see what the background of it is exactly.
In the 1950s, the chef of the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama was impressed by the spaghetti and meatballs that the American soldiers were all so fond of.
And he decided to make his own version of it.
With ketchup instead of tomato sauce because tomato sauce was not so easy to find there back then. He also added sausage for protein, vegetables, chili sauce and butter.
And he called it “spaghetti Naporitan”, referring to the Italian Naples.
Strange, you might think.
Well not at all.
See, in Japan a new style of cooking emerged more than a decade ago where western food was being copied and imitated. Using ingredients only available in Japan, which sometimes led to funny dishes.
Also due to the lack of information and recipes. People started to copy traditional western meals and make it look as similar as possible – not knowing how it tastes like or what ingredients really go into it.
This movement is called Yoshoku.
Funny, because lots of ‘yoshoku’ food is considered classic Japanese ‘washoku’ dishes after all those years.
Examples of that are katsu, omurice, curry and several spaghetti dishes like this spaghetti napolitan.
Wait a minute.
What is it now?
Spaghetti napolitan – or spaghetti naporitan?
The ‘l’ and ‘r’ are not used in Japanese, Western words that contain that consonant are difficult to pronounce and therefore sound quite the same in Japan.
Anyway, pasta Naporitan – or spaghetti Napolitan became an instant hit in local noodle bars and gradually throughout the rest of Japan and even in Japanese homes.
Because it is so easy and quick to make with simple and cheap ingredients.
I actually remember making a similar ketchup spaghetti back when I was a student.
Stir fry sausage and vegetables, add freshly cooked pasta, a few tablespoons of ketchup to taste, some butter and chili sauce.
Give it all a good stir… and dinner is ready in no time!
Traditionally sausage is used in this spaghetti napolitan.
You can also use bacon or ham instead.
For the vegetables: mushrooms and onion are popular additions. I used spring onion for my recipe.
And a little mayo to make it extra creamy and savory.
Grated parmesan cheese is also sprinkled on top at times.
Or what about an extra delicious touch: a fried egg…
My Japanese Ketchup Spaghetti Napolitan Recipe
Ingredients for 2 people
- 9 oz spaghetti (300 g)
- 4 tbsp Brussels ketjep
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp hot chili sauce
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 small sausages
- 1 spring onion chopped
- Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water until tender and strain it.
- In a large wok or skillet melt half of the butter over medium heat.
- Add the sausages and fry them until cooked through and browned on all sides.
- Transfer the sausages to a clean chopping board and slice them up.
- Add the sliced sausages back to the pan together with the chopped spring onion. Fry for 3 minutes.
- Add the cooked spaghetti, ketchup, mayo, hot chili sauce and the rest of the butter.
- Stir and toss well. Add extra ketchup, chili sauce or butter to taste.
- Divide the spaghetti napolitan over bowl and serve.