Spaghetti Neapolitan sounds like Italian food from its name, but it is a quite Japanese food. Spaghetti Neapolitan is spaghetti pan-fried with onion and bell pepper, and seasoned with ketchup. Don’t say “Spaghetti with ketchup? Ew.” It tastes better than you think (Omurice is not so bad, right?). It was more popular a couple of decades ago, but it is still great; an easy to make at home kind of pasta in Japan.
Spaghetti Neapolitan used to be a very popular food at restaurants in Japan a long time ago. It was often served not at Italian restaurants, but at old-fashioned coffee shops in any town. That was a time there were no Starbucks in Japan. These coffee shops were little places run by a mom and pop . They often served light snacks such as sandwiches and hot dogs along with a little heavier dishes, like curry and rice and this Spaghetti Neapolitan. Those shops were usually very dark inside, had old decor, and smelled funky, but they almost always served the best foods! I’ve never encountered bad Spaghetti Neapolitan in the old coffee shops.
That said, it is actually kind of hard to make bad Spaghetti Neapolitan. The ingredients and steps of making it are simple. You just can’t mess it up. Sausage and ham are typical meats to use, but you could also use chicken or shrimp if you don’t like to use processed meats. At coffee shops, it is served with powdered cheese (I think it’s Parmesan cheese, but not sure … the closest is grated Parmesan cheese in a can!) and Tabasco. Seasoning with these at the table makes the dish even more authentic 🙂
It is impossible to find those dark, old and almost scary Japanese coffee shops in the US (and harder and harder in Japan too), so we just have to make this tasty and nostalgic dish at home. And luckily, it is so easy to make!
- 200g spaghetti
- 3-4 smoked sausages, small
- 1/2 brown onion
- 1/4 green pepper
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 4-5 Tbsp ketchup
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Cook spaghetti in boiling water with salt according to the package.
- Cut sausage into bite size pieces and slice onion and green pepper thinly.
- Heat a frying pan at medium high heat and add oil. Add sausage pieces, onion and peppers, and cook for a minute or two. Add cooked spaghetti and stir-fry for a minute, then add ketchup. Season with a little salt.
- Divide pasta in bowls and top with parsley and cheese if you wish.