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Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs

This authentic Italian recipe was given to me by my cousin's wife, who is from Italy. It's so hearty and satisfying, everyone's eyes light up when I tell my family that we're having this for supper! —Etta Winter, Pavillion, New York
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 1-1/2 hours
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (12 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 6 slices day-old bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Hot cooked spaghetti
  • Additional Parmesan cheese, optional


  • In a Dutch oven, combine the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup water, onion, sugar, oregano, bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, garlic and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1-1/4 hours.
  • Meanwhile, soak bread in remaining water. Squeeze out excess moisture. In a large bowl, combine the bread, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and remaining salt, garlic and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into thirty-six 1-1/2-in. meatballs.
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Place meatballs on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, until no longer pink, 20 minutes; drain. Transfer to spaghetti sauce. Simmer, uncovered, until heated through, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf. Serve with spaghetti; if desired, top with additional Parmesan.
Nutrition Facts
1-2/3 cups: 373 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated fat), 123mg cholesterol, 1201mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 7g fiber), 26g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Marcia
    Jan 24, 2021

    Sauce is excellent. Meatballs need only 1 egg and 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs, onion and parietal. Baked before adding to sauce.

  • mkaskela
    Sep 6, 2015


  • pajamaangel
    Aug 22, 2015

    Meatballs were tasty. Sauce needed more flavor.

  • poppadude
    May 31, 2015

    Awesome !!!!! I did not add the eggs....Worked out great ....

  • Dilli
    Jun 17, 2014

    Six slices of bread for one pound of meat & 2 eggs? Seems like a lot. For even 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of meat I use only 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs or 2 slices of bread and 1 egg. I do one egg per 1 pound of meat. When in season I use fresh basil. Gives the sauce and meat a wonderful refreshing taste.

  • euge1
    Dec 14, 2013


  • M.Farthing
    Sep 1, 2013

    No comment left

  • cremation
    Feb 17, 2013

    The time to make was to long and the meatballs were tasteless.

  • country baker
    Feb 10, 2013

    What a great recipe. My family and I loved it. Could hardly wait for it to be done cooking. The only thing I did differently was to use my blender to smooth out the tomatoes because my hubby and daughter don't like tomato chunks. Will be making this again.

  • ferndale52
    Jan 28, 2013

    nice american standard. meatballs are tender, but i think they are made with a little too much bread - it does make it spread though, makes a lot of spaghetti. my family ate with relish.