This spaghetti is not your regular Italian spaghetti. Instead of using tomato, tomato sauce or paste, this dish is made with ketchup. You may think why on earth would you use ketchup in pasta. In fact, it is very common to see ketchup in Asian’s cooking, like baked pork chop with fried rice, ketcup shrimps, omurice and ketchup fried rice. I believe it is because ketchup is cheaper and easier to access than tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes back in the days.
This recipe is from Just One Cookbook. It is a Japanese recipe. There are a lot of western influence in Japanese cuisine. Pizza and pasta restaurants are everywhere in Japan. Most do not offer traditional Italian food, instead they sell Italian food with a Japanese twist. This ketchup spaghetti is a perfect example. With the ketchup, this pasta dish is slightly sweet and doesn’t have the acidic taste from fresh tomatoes. But you still get the savory taste from the sausages and cheese. There are also similar pasta dishes like this in Hong Kong. Maybe it is the Japanese influence or it can also be the British influence. Anyway, to me, this is the flavors that I grew up with. A very easy and tasty pasta dish that only require 30 minutes to make. Enjoy!
Ketchup Spaghetti (Adapted from Just One Cookbook)
– 2 Italian sausages or 3 hot dogs
– 4 – 6 white button mushrooms
– 1 small green bell pepper
– 6 tablespoons Ketchup
– 1½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
– 8 ounces spaghetti
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– ½ medium yellow onion (thinly sliced)
– 1 garlic clove (minced)
– 3 – 5 tablespoons pasta water
– 3 – 4 tablespoons milk
– 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
– ground black pepper
- If using hot dogs, skip this step. If using Italian sausages, bring water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the sausage and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the sausage from water and let it cool at room temperature.
- For the mushrooms, wipe clean with paper towels. Cut the mushrooms into ¼-inch slices and set aside.
- Clean and dry the bell pepper. Remove the stem, seeds and innards. Cut into ¼-inch strips.
- In a small bowl, combine ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
- Cut the sausages or hot dogs diagonally into ¼-inch slices. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water (salted) to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. Drain and rinse the pasta under cold water. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat. Heat the olive oil. Add onions and cook for until soft and transparent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the sausages or hot dogs and cook for 1 minute. Add bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook until brown and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the ketchup mixture and add 3 tablespoons pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta and toss to combine with tongs. If needed, add more pasta water. Adjust seasoning. Add milk and Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Transfer pasta to serving plates. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese.
- I used green bell pepper because of the color. But you can use any bell pepper you like.
- This pasta makes great leftover lunch for the next day.