{recipe} Old-Fashioned Spaghetti and Meatballs

I was bizarrely having a spaghetti and meatballs craving, which is probably, oh, the first time EVER that I have had one (and no, I am not secretly pregnant.) So without further ado, I present an extremely satisfying down-home meal that will compel your guests to ask if you learned all your secrets from a fabled Italian nonna. Although to be fair, it helps if you ply your guests with a couple bottles of wine and maybe a few shots of tequila before sitting down for dinner, which may or may not have happened before I served this meal. I’m just sayin’.

I used my new favorite thing, quinoa spaghetti from Whole Foods. It tastes almost exactly like regular spaghetti but imparts the nutritiousness of my favorite pseudocereal. One more note: the recipe combines many meats (3 to be exact) but you could just use all beef if you like. Although secretly, I would judge you from afar if you did that. Not really. OK maybe a little.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
This will serve 4-6 easily.


for the meatballs:

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 slices bread (any kind) crust removed, torn into pieces
  • 1 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 Tblsp roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil

for the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 20 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • salt and pepper


Make the sauce:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook a couple minutes, until soft and opaque.
  • Using your hands, pull the tomatoes out of the liquid in the can and crush them up with your hands a bit before adding them to the pot. Add about a cup of the liquid from the tomato can. Season with salt and pepper and cook at a simmer for about 20 minutes, at which point the sauce should get thicker.
  • Reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cook another 20-30 minutes. Taste sauce and add more salt and pepper if necessary. If desired, add in some chopped fresh basil or oregano at the end and stir in.

While sauce is cooking, make the meatballs:

  • Put milk in a large bowl and add torn bread pieces to soak. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until soft and opaque, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add onion mixture and all meats into the large bowl with the bread and milk, along with the egg, parmigiano, and some salt and pepper, and mix with your hands until mixed together. (Reserve the onion pan for cooking the meatballs.)
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Heat about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in the onion pan over medium high heat. Form meatballs that are between the size of a baseball and a golf ball. Brown them on all sides, about 15 minutes total.
  • Put about 1/4 of the sauce in a 9×13 pan. Add meatballs. Put another 1/4 of the sauce over the meatballs. Put into the oven and cook for about 15-30 minutes, until they are cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, cook your noodles as directed.
  • When the meatballs are done, mix the drained noodles with the remaining 1/2 of the sauce. Spoon the meatballs on top of the noodles and sprinkle with extra parmigiano if desired.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Manggy says:

    Hah! For me, there is nothing bizarre about a S&M craving (huh, fortuitous acronym). Especially when they look like that!