Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs

A hearty classic Italian-American dish.

Believe it or not, the recipe for spaghetti and meatballs was not invented in Italy. Italian immigrants who came to New York created the recipe because they had access to more meat. The first spaghetti and meatball recipe was published in 1920. There is some contention over how to make it more authentic (smaller meatballs and egg-based pasta) but...we don't think it matters. This recipe is perfect and that you will love it.

Spaghetti and Meatballs


Created by Natasha’s Kitchen


  • 3 slices white bread (crusts removed), diced or torn to pieces
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 1 lb Bessie ground beef
  • 1 lb Sweet Ground Italian sausage casings removed. We suggest going to Spolumbo’s
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated plus more to serve
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced (4 garlic cloves for the meatballs and 4 garlic cloves for the sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour to dredge meatballs
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil to saute or use vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (1 cup chopped)
  • 56 oz crushed tomatoes (from 2 - 28 oz cans)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoon basil finely minced
  • 1 lb spaghetti


  • Pot
  • Strainer


To Make the Meatballs
  1. Combine bread pieces with 2/3 cup water and set aside 5 min then mash with a fork.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add: 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb sausage, 1/4 cup parmesan, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 egg and mashed bread crumbs. Mix until well combined.
  3. Form into 1 1/2" meatballs (about a flat ice cream scoop of meat). Dredge/roll meatballs in flour, dusting off excess. Heat a deep, large, heavy skillet or a Dutch oven over medium heat with about 3 Tbsp oil. Add meatballs in 2 batches without crowding the pan and saute until browned on all sides (about 6 min total or 2 min per side). Remove meatballs and set aside (don't worry about cooking through at this point).
To Make the Marinara Sauce
  1. In the same skillet over medium heat, add more oil if needed and saute 1 cup chopped onion stirring often until soft and golden (5 min). Add 4 cloves minced garlic and stir 1-2 min until fragrant.
  2. Stir in 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a light boil (stir to make sure it's actually boiling and not just sending bubbles to the surface).
  3. Add meatballs back into the pan with tomato sauce, partially cover with lid or cover with a splatter screen to reduce splatter and cook at a gentle simmer for 30 min, turning the meatballs occasionally. Meatballs will be tender and sauce will be thickened. Five minutes before sauce is done, stir in chopped fresh basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
To Make Spaghetti and Meatballs
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente (or to desired doneness), drain (but save 1 cup of the pasta water!) and return to the empty pot.
  2. Pour sauce over the spaghetti and add in a little bit of the pasta water as you toss gently to combine (the pasta water helps combine the marinara sauce to the spaghetti). Then scoop meatballs and additional sauce over the spaghetti. To serve family-style, transfer to a large platter, garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil and serve hot.

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