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I developed this dish as a way to pay homage to my Italian American roots while also creating a deeply personal spin on one of my favorite food trends in Tokyo at the moment: tomato ramen.

Some of the earliest memories I have of my mother involve making spaghetti and meatballs with her in the kitchen. The visceral experience years later of slurping down a hot bowl of ramen always brought me back to those pasta dinners of my childhood, joyfully devouring forkfuls of spaghetti coated in rich, tangy tomato sauce, almost always accompanied by a savory and satisfying meatball or two — not unlike the luscious chāshū pork belly slices that typically adorn a bowl of ramen.

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