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Italian Spaghetti with Meatballs Recipe

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My mother got this recipe from our Italian neighbors in the 1950s. It's been a big hit at our church community dinners, where we sometimes make three or four batches of this wonderful sauce.—Monica Crouch, Trotwood, Ohio
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Cook: 3 hours
MAKES:20-24 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Cook: 3 hours
MAKES: 20-24 servings


  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cans (28 ounces each) tomato puree
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups soft bread crumbs
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 each) equals 185 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 66 mg cholesterol, 545 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 16 g protein.


  1. In two or three stockpots or Dutch ovens, saute garlic and parsley in oil 1 minute. Add tomato puree, sauce, paste, sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-1/2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. For meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, water, onion, bread crumbs, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic and seasonings; mix well. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. Place meatballs on greased racks in shallow baking pans. Bake, uncovered, 15-18 minutes or until no longer pink.
  3. Stir the remaining Parmesan into spaghetti sauce; simmer 30 minutes. Drain meatballs on paper towels; add to sauce.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled meatballs and sauce in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a covered saucepan, gently stirring and adding a little broth / water if necessary.
    Yield: 20-24 servings.
Originally published as Spaghetti and Meatballs in Taste of Home April/May 2002, p54

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 each) equals 185 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 66 mg cholesterol, 545 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 16 g protein.

Full-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.

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Reviewed Jan. 14, 2013

"My husband (who cringes when I make spaghetti) LOVED this recipe! He said it is better than my Italian brother-in-law's sauce. What a compliment!! Thank you for this recipe!"

Reviewed Aug. 15, 2010

"This recipe is AWSOME! I have used this recipe for the last few years when I make sauce to can from my tomatoes. My entire family LOVES it and won't eat store bought sauce anymore."

Reviewed Dec. 24, 2009

"I just made the meatballs, they were VERY good and easy to make. The family loved them. This is is a keeper."

Reviewed Oct. 18, 2009

"Whether cooking for a crowd or wanting a great freeze it for later recipe, this spaghetti and meatballs recipe is the best I have ever tried. It does make a lot, but like I said, if it's too much, freeze it for a busy night along with a batch of buttery bubble bread!"

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