The Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe That Never Lets Me Down

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When it comes to meatballs, skip nan fussy frying and cook them alternatively for arsenic satisfying results.

Serves4 to 6

Prep30 minutes

Cook45 minutes

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Spaghetti and meatballs is Italian American comfortableness nutrient astatine its very best. While you tin cozy up astatine conscionable astir immoderate reddish condiment associated successful nan States to excavation into a plate, making nan crockery astatine location is arsenic satisfying to hole arsenic it is to enjoy. You don’t request arsenic overmuch clip arsenic you’d deliberation to tackle each constituent — plus, nan meatballs tin moreover beryllium made up of time.

Who Invented Spaghetti and Meatballs?

You won’t find spaghetti and meatballs successful Italy, because they’re enjoyed separately there. Spaghetti and meatballs is really an Italian American invention alternatively than a accepted Italian dish. 

While nan nonstop root communicative is simply a spot unclear, it’s said to person been created successful New York City by Italian immigrants location betwixt 1880 and 1920. Ground beef, dried spaghetti, and canned tomatoes were immoderate of nan cheapest ingredients available, and making meatballs successful reddish condiment and serving them complete spaghetti was an inexpensive measurement to devour a hearty meal. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Ingredients successful Spaghetti and Meatballs 

You’ll make some nan meatballs and herb condiment for this look from scratch, but some travel together easy without a laundry database of ingredients.

  • Ground meat: While crushed beef was traditionally nan only nutrient used, nowadays a operation of crushed beef and pork is astir emblematic and is what is utilized here. You can’t usually prime nan fat percent of crushed pork, but for nan beef prime thin crushed beef pinch 15 to 20% fat for nan champion flavor. You tin besides switch immoderate aliases each of nan crushed beef and pork pinch crushed dark-meat crushed turkey.
  • Panko aliases fresh breadcrumbs: This helps hindrance your meatballs and ensures they’re patient erstwhile cooked.
  • Egg: This useful successful tandem pinch nan breadcrumbs arsenic a binder.
  • Milk: You tin usage immoderate benignant of milk, which lends moisture and prevents nan meatballs from drying out.
  • Seasonings: Garlic, chopped parsley, and grated Parmesan food lend spirit successful summation to nan accustomed brackish and pepper.
  • Crushed tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes are bully and heavy consecutive retired of nan tin truthful they don’t request to simmer for hours to execute nan correct condiment consistency.
  • Seasonings: Onion, garlic, salt, and an optional pinch of reddish capsicum flakes springiness nan condiment its classical Italian spirit without overpowering nan meatballs.

Combine some nan meatballs and reddish condiment pinch dried spaghetti cooked to al dente and meal is served. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

What to Serve pinch Spaghetti and Meatballs 

Spaghetti and meatballs is simply a hearty repast that doesn’t request overmuch to information it out. Pair it pinch a crisp crockery for balance, specified a classical Caesar aliases a zippy arugula salad, garlic bread for soaking up each past spot of nan sauce, and, if you truthful choose, your favourite reddish wine.

When it comes to meatballs, skip nan fussy frying and cook them alternatively for arsenic satisfying results.


  • 1

    small yellowish onion

  • 4 cloves

    garlic, divided

  • 1 small bunch

    fresh parsley, positive much for serving

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 firmly packed cup grated connected a Microplane aliases 1/3 cup store-bought), divided

  • 8 ounces

    ground beef

  • 8 ounces

    ground pork

  • 2/3 cup

    panko aliases caller breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, positive much for nan pasta water

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red capsicum flakes (optional)

  • 1 (28-ounce) tin

    crushed tomatoes

  • 1 pound

    dried spaghetti

  1. Arrange a rack successful nan mediate of nan oven and power nan oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking expanse pinch parchment paper.

  2. Dice 1 mini yellowish bulb (about 2/3 cup). Mince 4 ail cloves and spot half successful a ample bowl. Finely chop nan leaves and tender stems of 1 mini bunch caller parsley until you person 1/4 loosely packed cup and adhd it to nan vessel (chop much for garnish if desired). Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan food (about 1/2 packed cup) aliases measurement retired 1/3 cup store-bought grated, and adhd half to nan bowl.

  3. Add 8 ounces crushed beef, 8 ounces crushed pork, 2/3 cup panko aliases caller breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup milk, 1 ample egg, 1 spoon of nan kosher salt, and 1/4 spoon achromatic capsicum to nan bowl. Mix lightly pinch a fork until conscionable combined.

  4. Form nan substance into 16 to 18 (about 1 1/2-inch) meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each), wetting your hands pinch h2o arsenic needed to support nan substance from sticking. Place connected nan baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart.

  5. Bake until browned and cooked done aliases until an instant-read thermometer inserted into nan halfway of a meatball registers astatine slightest 165°F, 15 to 20 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, bring a ample cookware of heavy salted h2o to a boil complete precocious heat. Start nan sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons oliva lipid successful a ample cookware aliases Dutch oven complete mean power until shimmering. Add nan bulb and sauté until softened and translucent, astir 5 minutes. Add nan remaining ail and 1/4 spoon reddish capsicum flakes, if using. Sauté until fragrant, astir 1 minute.

  7. Carefully adhd 1 (28-ounce) tin crushed tomatoes and nan remaining 1/2 spoon kosher salt, and operation to combine. Cover and bring to a simmer complete medium-high heat. Reduce nan power to low. Cover pinch nan lid ajar and proceed to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until nan meatballs are ready.

  8. Using tongs aliases a slotted spoon, transportation nan meatballs to nan sauce. Gently operation to overgarment nan meatballs and submerge them successful sauce. Continue to simmer gently, covered pinch nan lid ajar, while you navigator nan pasta.

  9. Add 1 lb dried spaghetti to nan boiling h2o and navigator according to package instructions until al dente, astir 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of nan pasta water, past drain nan pasta. Return nan pasta to nan now-empty cookware disconnected nan heat. Add a fewer ladlefuls of condiment from nan cookware of meatballs and flip to coat, adding nan reserved pasta h2o a tablespoonful astatine a clip arsenic needed to loosen nan condiment and overgarment nan pasta.

  10. Transfer nan pasta to individual shallow bowls aliases plates and apical pinch nan meatballs and much sauce. Serve garnished pinch nan remaining Parmesan food and chopped parsley.

Recipe Notes

Ground turkey variation: 1 lb crushed turkey, preferably acheronian meat, tin beryllium substituted for nan beef and pork.

Make ahead: The meatballs tin beryllium shaped and refrigerated for up to 1 time earlier cooking. The meatballs tin besides beryllium stiff uncooked aliases cooked. Arrange successful a azygous furniture connected a baking expanse and frost until solid. Transfer nan meatballs to a freezer instrumentality aliases freezer bag, and frost for up to 1 month. If uncooked, thaw successful a azygous furniture successful nan refrigerator overnight earlier cooking. If cooked, either thaw successful nan refrigerator overnight aliases thaw straight successful simmering condiment for 15 minutes.

Storage: Leftovers tin beryllium refrigerated successful an airtight instrumentality for up to 3 days aliases stiff for up to 1 month.