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Best Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

One evening, we had unexpected company. Since I had some of these meatballs left over in the freezer, I warmed them up as appetizers. Everyone raved! This classic recipe makes a big batch and is perfect for entertaining. —Mary Lou Koskella, Prescott, Arizona
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 2 hours YIELD:12-16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • MEATBALLS:
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups soft bread cubes (1/4-inch pieces)
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Hot cooked spaghetti

Directions

  • 1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, saute onions in oil. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the water, tomato sauce and paste, parsley, basil, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 50 minutes.
  • 2. In a large bowl, combine the first seven meatball ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls.
  • 3. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown meatballs in batches in oil until no longer pink; drain. Add to sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until flavors are blended, stirring occasionally. Serve with spaghetti. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 304 calories, 18g fat (6g saturated fat), 117mg cholesterol, 1323mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 2g fiber), 23g protein .

Reviews for Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sort By :
MY REVIEW
PrplMonky5
Reviewed Mar. 8, 2016

"This review is only for the meatballs. I cut the meatball recipe in a quarter since I only had 3/4lb ground beef. It worked out really well. For the "soft bread cubes", I just used Italian bread crumbs. I also added just a tad more garlic, and only did about half the extra salt that it called for. These were very yummy! I think I've found my new go-to meatball recipe! I will definitely make these again, and I'd be curious on how they'd taste with actual bread cubes. Keeper!"

MY REVIEW
Kupa
Reviewed Oct. 27, 2015

"I saw this yesterday and tried it for dinner. Only modification was I did not have parsley and I added Rosemary instead. Lot's of flavour, loved it..."

MY REVIEW
ShannonMLeger
Reviewed Sep. 17, 2015

"These were easy to make and absolutely delicious! The only modification I made was I left out the salt. I will definitely be making these again!"

MY REVIEW
nanabrenda58
Reviewed Mar. 7, 2015

"This recipe was incredibly flavorful, loved it! !"

MY REVIEW
Hannah0418
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2013

"These are THE BEST meatballs I've ever made"

MY REVIEW
Neck1
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2013

"I thought 1 tablespoon of salt was too much. Next time I will use 1/2 tablespoon or even a little less. You can always add salt, you can't take it out. Otherwise, we loved these meatballs!!!! I will only make this recipe!"

MY REVIEW
gaylene2
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2013

"This was a five star recipe. It was delicious. I would have liked MORE sauce. So next time I will double it!"

MY REVIEW
Timbergurl1
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2013

"Wonderful. I use this recipe mainly for the meatballs, as I have my own sauce that I adore, but the sauce from this recipe is delicious as well. It's all so easy to throw together and you can always count on it to taste great!"

MY REVIEW
angelaandjakers
Reviewed Oct. 15, 2013

"I have to put my 2 cents worth in.I can't believe how rude some of you are. One review had completely changed the recipe and the point is to rate the recipe submitted and maybe add a sugggestion or 2. That is all."

MY REVIEW
akoehler79
Reviewed Oct. 15, 2013

"I'm rating the meatball portion of this recipe only because anyone can open a box of pasta and a jar of sauce. :) First off, for the meat, I used 3.5lbs ground venison. I used ground up saltine crackers rather than the bread. I put in 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. I cut back on the salt to half a tablespoon and added 2 teaspoons of dried parsley flakes and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning. I mixed the eggs, milk, minced garlic, cheese and seasonings together then crumbled the meat on top. I sprinkled a little bit of garlic powder on top of the meat, then mixed it all together. I baked these in the oven at 400 for 20 min then broiled them for a few minutes for the "browning" effect. Best meatball by far that I've made!!"

MY REVIEW
gumball834
Reviewed Oct. 8, 2013

"Can I ask a question? If I use dried parsley, will the sauce come out the same? I want to make this for dinner tonight, but I don't have any time to go to the store for fresh parsley... Hope someone can let me know before I get started! Thanks!"

MY REVIEW
medik620
Reviewed Oct. 8, 2013

"Made this for dinner last night. A big hit at our house. We will make this our go to recipe from now on. I did add a bell pepper."

MY REVIEW
mountainberrybutterfly
Reviewed Oct. 8, 2013

"I was so amazed by all the bickering and put downs in the comments here, I almost forgot to copy the recipe so I could try it."

MY REVIEW
LuSeymour
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"Agree. GHullar and Gail Ann, well said. TOH, can you delete those who clearly need more than a Taste to improve their Home!?"

MY REVIEW
gail ann
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"GHullar I agree totally. It's annoying to see ratings skewed because someone gives 1 star to a recipe they've never tested. I honestly wish taste of home would purge the one star rating of those who haven't made a recipe or don't like a particular ingredient. This is a wonderful site for home cooks. We don't need a lesson or tongue lashing from faux gourmet highly developed palate wannabes telling us we're soooo mistaken in our humble taste in food. I highly doubt master chefs rate recipes or much less look for recipes on THIS site. That said, even Anthony Bordain shared that he likes a burger at McDonalds from time to time. If you don't like the recipe after cooking it, then fine, give it your honest tried and true rating. Otherwise don't be a jerk. This isn't Facebook or Top Chef. Be nice. Better yet, just go away... please. This site isn't for you."

MY REVIEW
GHullar
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"Oh my goodness people. The recipe doesn't say "Authentic" Italian meatballs and spaghetti. This board is in America and some of us Americans just like a tasty recipe that is simple to make with ingredients we have on hand. If you want to post an "Authentic"Italian recipe then submit it yourself to Taste Of Home as authentic but don't rate a recipe low if you haven't tried it just because you don't think it is something it never claims to be. It doesn't make you look special because you are so enlightened. It make you look small and petty."

MY REVIEW
jdwalters
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"I have not tried this recipe yet,but I do have a comment.I really don't understand people who feel the need to criticize and pick apart a recipe.It is what it is, like it or don't, your choice.But if you really have to "make over" the original recipe by adding or substituting or leaving something out, then you really aren't " reviewing" this recipe. Just my thoughts."

MY REVIEW
gg88
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"i BELIEVE IF YOU READ IT FULLY I said one can of paste to be added,I didn't say Italian don't use paste, what I did imply was PASTE ALONE WITH WATER IS UNHEARD OF AMONG THE OLD TIME ITALIANS, when making genuine ITALIAN SPAGHETTI SAUCE.  NEVER HEARD IT CALLED CONSERVE AND i GREW UP WITH ALL Italians from all parts of Italy.  Hope you don't mind my smiling because this does sound like your joking."

MY REVIEW
marmaterry
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"This recipe is similar to mine, I use water instead of milk, one egg for every pound of ground beef and the meatballs are nice and moist. Commenting on the person who said Italians do no use tomato paste, they actually do, they call it conserve. My grandmother is Italy would make it and send it to us. It is made by cooking down the tomatoes and then spreading it in pans covered with cheese cloth and drying it in the sun. Basil, bay leaf and olive oil would be added and then stored in a cool place. It was sometime used for making a quick sauce by browning olive oil , garlic , pepper flakes adding the paste and water. Aunt Terry"

MY REVIEW
gg88
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"[quote user="gg88"]

Ratio----cqn of Paste and 3 cans of water PLEASE i FEEL THE ACID CHOKING ME. When it comes to ITALIAN SAUCE ask a Neapolitan. We bottle fresh tomatoes if we run out of our own bottled tomatoes we purchase can whole or puree tomatoes. We will use one can of paste. USE pork and beef meat. COOK FOR HOURS Now you really HAVE THE OLD ITALIAN SAUCE TO DIE FOR.CHOICES YOU CAN USE IN MEATS----MEATS USED IN iTALIAN SAUCE --SAUSAGE . BROCCOLI, MEATBALLS --- HAVE A BALL
[/quote]SPELLED IT INCORRECTLY----BROCCOLI--STILL SPELLED WRONG BUT THE FOLLOWING IS WHAT I MEANT"

MY REVIEW
gg88
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"Ratio----cqn of Paste and 3 cans of water PLEASE i FEEL THE ACID CHOKING ME. When it comes to ITALIAN SAUCE ask a Neapolitan. We bottle fresh tomatoes if we run out of our own bottled tomatoes we purchase can whole or puree tomatoes. We will use one can of paste. USE pork and beef meat. COOK FOR HOURS Now you really HAVE THE OLD ITALIAN SAUCE TO DIE FOR.CHOICES YOU CAN USE IN MEATS----MEATS USED IN iTALIAN SAUCE --SAUSAGE . BROCCOLI, MEATBALLS --- HAVE A BALL"

MY REVIEW
AuntJeanieBeanie
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"To sfiacco, 304 calories is NOT for one meatball. It is for one serving of MEATBALL, SPAGHETTI AND SAUCE."

MY REVIEW
jeanc47
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013 Edited Oct. 8, 2013

"I will add that adding milk and bread or breadcrumbs to the meat mixture, according to Americas Test Kitchen, is sort of a chemical reaction that occurs in softening the meat and keeps the meatballs soft and moist. Meatballs can become too hard without the milk and bread apparently. And I personally have experienced this when making meatballs... I'm going to try this recipe and will report back.....I'm back and have the sauce and meatballs cooking for almost 30 minutes now. I would like to report that I used the original recipe amounts and ingredients and everything is coming out delicious. The meatball mix was soft and sticky, but not to much as to unable to form a ball. They fried up really nicely and of course I had to taste them....I really thought the taste was great. I thought 1T of salt would be too much but it wasn't. I too was doubtful about using tomato paste in that quantity, but along with all the other ingredients it does taste like a thick base for the meatballs that you could use on a sandwich too. And I don't feel it's an amateur tasting sauce at all, or some type of canned sauce. I use to spend a lot of time in Italy for my job and have tasted lots of sauces for a comparison. I don't think anyone makes a sauce that isn't a little different that another....I'll give this 4 ****'s for sure!!"

MY REVIEW
dovecanyon
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"I'm not sure which Italy the last poster lived in for 20 years, but Italians most definitely DO have, and use, tomato paste. In fact, for Sicilian sauce we use only paste, (ratio: 3 cans water to 1 can paste and simmer for several hours). That aside, I personally put little or no onion in my sauce, but that is again for Sicilian version. Also often use oregano in place of basil, (or both, ratio: 2 parts oregano to 1 part basil). This sauce is very good as written though, and the meatball recipe is excellent. Have red pepper flakes on the table for those who like it a bit spicy and some good parmesan... Delizioso!"

MY REVIEW
jujujulia
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"I would substitute a large can of diced tomatoes for the tomato sauce and water.By the way, I lived 20 years in Italy and they don't have tomato paste. Delucak is correct about using hard Italian bread, soaking it and wringing it out well, but she or he is really being closed-minded to judge using milk so harshly as to give the recipe only one star. Italians often combine milk in meat-based recipes (the parmesan cheese garnish, for one...) and you are inevitably going to have to deal with substitutions. It's rare for Italians to put ANY sugar into a tomato sauce but here in America it's hard to find any bottled sauces without sugar! (Blaaah).

The recipe doesn't say anything about preparing the pasta... I just want to add that you can just throw a big pinch of salt in the water and test it for correct saltiness a bit later... it should taste like a soup base. And DON'T overboil the pasta, cook it "al dente". It should have a tiny area in the center of the individual piece of pasta where the color is slightly, very slightly lighter. Drain it immediately, mix it with the sauce and enjoy while piping hot!"

MY REVIEW
djvojoe
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"Definitely, not the best. Mediocre at best. Meatball meat ratios are 1 beef, 1/2 veal and 1/2 pork. (e,g, 1/2 lb beef - 1/4 lb veal - 1/4 lb pork. Canola oil? not olive oil. 1 1/2 cups of milk not wrung out would give you a sloppy mess."

MY REVIEW
delucak
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"I never heard of putting Milk in meatballs.My mother-in-law always taught me to soak stale Italian bread in water then wringing it out good,before mixing it in with the meat mixture."

MY REVIEW
sfiacco
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"Does one meatball really have 304 calories???"

MY REVIEW
dwilfer
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"My daughter-in-law is Italian and makes meatballs by memory not allowing me to "get it right". This recipe tastes just like hers and now I know how to make them! Thanks"

MY REVIEW
syrvilla85
Reviewed May. 23, 2013

"This was the best spaghetti and meatballs I had!!! I cooked it last night for the family and it was a hit. I did add a little crushed red peppers. I will never cook spaghetti another way again."

MY REVIEW
LegalSec
Reviewed Jan. 25, 2012

"Best Ever and I'm italian. Tastes like my mother's. The only thing I changed was that I used fresh basil, half of one of those small plastic containers in the produce section. Absolutely delicious."

MY REVIEW
Karinareno
Reviewed Feb. 24, 2011

"This is my husband new favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe. I made it for the first time last week and he already wants me to make it again."

MY REVIEW
mwaxham
Reviewed Feb. 7, 2011

"Good everyday sauce - doesn't call for a lot of unusual ingredients and has good flavor. I made more meatballs because we really like a lot of meatballs. I can use them in subs the next day. I would make this recipe again."

MY REVIEW
Deester
Reviewed Aug. 28, 2010

"My family loves this recipe!"

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Wine Pairings

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.