My version of the Best Spaghetti and Meatballs mixes both beef and pork and echoes the flavours of good Italian sausage in the tender, juicy meatballs, while keeping the tomato sauce as simple as possible.

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

Maybe every family has their own version of the best spaghetti and meatballs but if you don’t, or think yours could use a flavour boost , this recipe is well worth a shot. I’ve seen many traditional Italian cooks take the same approach as I do in making the meatballs that are so integral to getting this dish right.

Many that I know use ground veal and pork, but veal is not very commonly available in these parts, so I use lean ground beef most of the time. I trim and grind my own pork shoulder or pork sirloin for my meatballs.

It is often more economical than buying pre-ground pork and you can control the fat content too by trimming the pork cuts yourself; as well as being able to control the coarseness of the grind. I like the pork more coarsely ground for better, meatier texture in the finished meatballs.

In watching many TV chefs make meatballs over the years, I came to the conclusion that the recipes I liked best echo the flavours found in very good Italian sausage. You can’t really go wrong with that approach.

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

I borrowed a couple of other ideas, like soaking the breadcrumbs in milk, adding grated parmesan cheese and including a little spicy kick to the meatballs too. After tweaking meatball recipes for years, I’m now sticking with this one because our family simply loves them and plates are always cleaned.

The sauce we keep as simple as possible with just a few common ingredients. We use canned San Marzano tomatoes in a very uncomplicated sauce. If they are available, I highly recommend that you use them too for a very authentic taste of Italy.

I made this following suggestion in my recent recipe for Pineapple Pork Meatballs and it is just as applicable here, except that we often make and freeze extra tomato sauce as well, to enjoy a second meal of spaghetti and meatballs whenever we want…and in next to no time.

One thing I always recommend when making meatballs is to make a double batch to freeze for another meal a few weeks down the line. This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen meatballs which is sufficient for 6 servings or more, depending on if you are serving small kids.

I make double the amount of the meatball recipe and once they are formed into balls, I place half of them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and place the sheet in the freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, I transfer the balls to a Ziploc bag and label them with the date.

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

I again thaw the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet before browning them as directed and adding them to a fresh or previously frozen batch of sauce. It really is a great way to get a jump on a delicious dinner on a busy day in a few weeks time when you are sure to appreciate that little bit of pre-planning.

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Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

My version of the Best Spaghetti and Meatballs mixes both beef and pork and echoes the flavours of good Italian sausage in the tender, juicy meatballs, while keeping the tomato sauce as simple as possible.

Course:

Dinner

Cuisine:

Italian Inspired

Author: Barry C. Parsons

Ingredients

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 2
    tbsp
    olive oil
  • 4
    cloves
    minced garlic
  • 1
    small red onion
    finely diced
  • 6 -7
    cups
    canned San Marzano Tomatoes
    pureed (I mostly buy whole or chopped canned tomatoes and puree them myself in the food processor or blender)
  • 1
    tsp
    kosher salt
  • 1
    tsp
    freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch chili flakes
    or to taste
  • 1
    tsp
    dried oregano leaves
  • 2
    tbsp
    brown sugar
  • 4
    tbsp
    balsamic vinegar

For the Meatballs

  • 1 1
    b lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2
    pounds
    regular ground pork
  • 1 1/2
    cups
    bread crumbs
    lightly packed
  • 1/2
    cup
    milk
  • 2
    eggs
  • 2
    tbsp
    chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 4
    cloves
    finely minced garlic
  • 1/2
    cup
    finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1
    tsp
    kosher salt
  • 1
    tsp
    freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2
    tsp
    chili flakes
    more or less to taste
  • 1
    tsp
    paprika
    or smoked paprika
  • 1
    tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1 1/2
    tsp
    ground fennel seeds
    I crush them with a mortar and pestle but you can crush them in a sandwich bag using a mallet or hammer if you can’t find pre-ground.

You will also need

  • pound
    About 1 of dry spaghetti pasta
    cooked to ardent in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain but do not rinse the pasta before serving.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the sauce first so that it can simmer and reduce while you prepare the meatballs.

To prepare the Tomato Sauce

  1. In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat add the garlic and onions and sauté together until the onions have softened but not browned.

  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients for the sauce and simmer on low heat while you prepare the meatballs.

To prepare the meatballs

  1. Pour the milk over the breadcrumb and let them soak while you gather the other ingredients in the meatball recipe.

  2. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well.

  3. Form into 2 1/2 inch balls. Keeping your hands wet with cold water prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands.

  4. Brown the meatballs on all sides in a non stick frying pan for about 10 minutes. You want to get some good colour on them.

  5. Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce in the dutch oven.

  6. Simmer slowly for about 30 minutes before serving over al dente cooked spaghetti with a garnish of additional Parmesan cheese.

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Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

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