Spaghetti and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

I used to think that I had a great meatball recipe, but I don't think that any longer.  After making these meatballs, I can honestly say that I won't be making any others.  These were so easy and flavorful. they held their form in the sauce and that also met the "kid" test.  My granddaughter has asked her mom to make spaghetti and meatballs like grandma's.  So now, when she and I are together we make spaghetti and meatballs.  She isn't too keen on forming the meatballs, though.  She likes the dump ingredients and stir part!  

This is another New York Times recipe.  I tell you, their collection of recipes rocks.  

Spaghetti and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Yield:  4 Servings

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces ground beef
6 ounces Parmesan, about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped, reserve 2 Tablespoons for garnish
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
Fresh ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups canned crushed tomatoes (a little less than two 28-oz cans)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp basil

1 pound spaghetti

Brings a stockpot of water to a boil and salt it.  Put the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat.

Put the ground beef in a medium bowl.  Grate the cheese, put 1 cup over the meat.  Reserve the rest of the cheese, about 1/2 cup.  Chop 1/2 cup of parsley and add all but 2 Tablespoons to the meat mixture.  Save the rest of the parsley for another use.  Add the bread crumbs and the egg to the mixture.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Gently mix until everything is just combined.

Raise the meat to medium high.  Using a scoop or 2 teaspoons, drop rounds of the meatball mixture into the skillet without touching one another.  Adjust the heat so the meatballs sizzle but do not burn. Cook the meatballs undisturbed until they are lightly browned on the bottom, 5-6 minutes. Turn and continue browning.

While the meatballs are browning, trim, peel and chop the onion.  Scatter the diced onion around the meatballs.  Peel and mince or crush the garlic.  Put it on top of the onions.

When the meatballs are browned on the bottom and the aromatics begin to soften, add the tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves to the skillet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Adjust the heat to medium low so that the mixture bubbles gently but steadily.  Cover the skillet and cook until the meat cooks through, about 8 minutes.  Remove the lid and let the sauce bubble vigorously to thicken, about another 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir carefully, but only as needed.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir.  After five minutes check the pasta.  When it is tender, not mushy, drain it.  Reserve some of the cooking water.  Return the pasta to the pot.

Move the meatballs to one side of the skillet and stir the sauce.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Discard the bay leaves and spoon about half the sauce into the pasta pot.  Toss the pasta over low heat.  Add a splash of cooking water to the pasta to make it saucier, if you like.

To serve, divide the pasta among 4 plates or bowls; top with meatballs and additional sauce.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and parsley over the top.


This went on the rotation after the first time I made it.  I love, love the meatballs!!

I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.


  1. Kate, I love spaghetti and of my all time favorites! This version looks and sounds great... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  2. Looks great Kathy and good to find your go-to meatball recipe - this was our supper just last night.

  3. Different from my

    will try these..this way:)

    She's a cutie..I love this dish..always.

  4. Darling Granddaughter! And I love this recipe. You are right, the NY Times has awesome recipes.

  5. When a good cook tells me a recipe is their favorite I have to try it :) I love NYT recipes and this will be on our menu soon :)

  6. Hi Kathy,
    What a fantastic Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe. We always love your recipes at Full Plate Thursday, thanks so much for sharing them with us!
    Miz Helen

  7. I love this, and thanks so much for linking it to First Monday Favorites. The idea of 'drop' meatballs caught my attention, and I'll have to try this sometime. I do love pasta.

  8. My toddler loves meatballs! Looking forward to trying this recipe out.

  9. I bet my grandkids would love this dish too!

  10. This sounds like a wonderful recipe. Going to give this a try very soon.

  11. I love meatballs and so do my children! These type of recipes are so popular and real comfort food too!


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