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Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

My version of the Best Spaghetti and Meatballs mixes both beef and pork and echoes the flavours of good Italian sausage in the tender, juicy meatballs, while keeping the tomato sauce as simple as possible.

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

Maybe every family has their own version of the best spaghetti and meatballs. If you don’t, or think yours could use a flavour boost , this recipe is well worth a shot.

I’ve seen many traditional Italian cooks take the same approach as I do in making the meatballs that are so integral to getting this dish right. Many that I know use ground veal and pork, but veal is not very commonly available in these parts.

I use lean ground beef most of the time. I trim and grind my own pork shoulder or pork sirloin for my meatballs.

It is often more economical than buying pre-ground pork. You can also control the fat content by trimming the pork cuts yourself; as well as being able to control the coarseness of the grind. I like the pork more coarsely ground for better, meatier texture in the finished meatballs.

In watching many TV chefs make meatballs over the years, I came to the conclusion that the recipes I liked best echo the flavours found in very good Italian sausage. You can’t really go wrong with that approach.

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

I borrowed a couple of other ideas, like soaking the breadcrumbs in milk, adding grated parmesan cheese and including a little spicy kick to the meatballs.

After tweaking meatball recipes for years, I’m now sticking with this one because our family simply loves them and plates are always cleaned.

The sauce we keep as simple as possible with just a few common ingredients. We use canned San Marzano tomatoes in a very uncomplicated sauce. If they are available, I highly recommend that you use them too for a very authentic taste of Italy.

Freezing Meatballs for whenever you’d like to enjoy them.

I made this following suggestion in my recent recipe for Pineapple Pork Meatballs and it is just as applicable here.

We often make and freeze extra tomato sauce as well, to enjoy a second meal of spaghetti and meatballs whenever we want. Better yet, it takes next to no time.

One thing I always recommend when making meatballs is to make a double batch to freeze for another meal a few weeks down the line. This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen meatballs which is sufficient for 8 servings or more, depending on if you are serving small kids.

I make double the amount of the meatball recipe. Once they are formed into balls, I place half of them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and place the sheet in the freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, I transfer the balls to a Ziploc bag and label them with the date.

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

I again thaw the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then I brown them as directed and add them to a fresh or previously frozen batch of sauce. It really is a great way to get a jump on a delicious dinner on a busy day in a few weeks time when you are sure to appreciate that little bit of pre-planning.

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The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

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The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs
Yield: 8 servings

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

My version of the Best Spaghetti and Meatballs mixes both beef and pork and echoes the flavours of good Italian sausage in the tender, juicy meatballs, while keeping the tomato sauce as simple as possible.

Ingredients

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 6 cups canned San Marzano Tomatoes, pureed (I mostly buy whole or chopped canned tomatoes and puree them myself in the food processor or blender)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • pinch chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

For the Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika, or smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds. (I crush them with a mortar and pestle but you can crush them in a sandwich bag using a mallet or hammer if you can't find pre-ground.)

You will also need

  • pound About 1 of dry spaghetti pasta, cooked to al dente in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain but do not rinse the pasta before serving.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the sauce first so that it can simmer and reduce while you prepare the meatballs.

To prepare the Tomato Sauce

  1. In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat add the garlic and onions and sauté together until the onions have softened but not browned.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients for the sauce and simmer on low heat while you prepare the meatballs.

To prepare the meatballs

  1. Pour the milk over the breadcrumb and let them soak while you gather the other ingredients in the meatball recipe.
  2. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well.
  3. Form into 2 1/2 inch balls. Keeping your hands wet with cold water prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands.
  4. Brown the meatballs on all sides in a non stick frying pan for about 10 minutes. You want to get some good colour on them.
  5. Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce in the dutch oven.
  6. Simmer slowly for about 30 minutes before serving over al dente cooked spaghetti with a garnish of additional Parmesan cheese.

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Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

g

Amount Per Serving Calories 832Total Fat 41gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 209mgSodium 1088mgCarbohydrates 54gFiber 5gSugar 11gProtein 58g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

Rock Recipes a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Our product recommendations are almost exclusively for those we currently use or have used in the past.

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Les Wood

Friday 5th of April 2019

Hello Barry, How many meatballs does this recipe yield? If I have left overs can they be frozen?

Denise

Friday 17th of November 2017

What if I need to leave out the Parmesan?

Barry C. Parsons

Wednesday 22nd of November 2017

Should be fine but I'd miss the flavour.

Pru

Sunday 28th of August 2016

Can i use dry can bread crumbs?

Barry C. Parsons

Monday 19th of September 2016

Yes, but I's add a touch more milk.

Linda

Tuesday 16th of February 2016

I never have good luck with meatballs/ These look grand! I'll have to try your method. Thanks for sharing.

Wishes for tasty dishes, Linda

Barry C. Parsons

Thursday 18th of February 2016

I hope they turn our well for you. They always do for me.

Liz

Monday 15th of February 2016

Thank you for the nice recipe Barry.

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