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Spaghetti and meatballs Lidia Bastianich

  • 6 servings
  • Mins
    Prep Time
  • Mins
    Cook Time

Everybody loves meatballs. I feel like meatballs are part of Americana. They belong on the American table and this is a great and simple recipe. It calls for three types of meat but a combination of any two or even one will work as well. It freezes well, but is best frozen in smaller quantities, (½ pint, 6-8 meatballs and sauce) so that it reconstitutes quickly.


1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon ground oregano
½ cup chopped parsley
2 cups bread crumbs
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
2 fresh bay leaves
½ teaspoon peperoncino
3 (28 ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
1 pound spaghetti
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Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. In a food processor, combine the carrot, celery, onion and pulse to make a fine-textured paste or pestata. Scrape pestata into a large bowl and add remaining meatball ingredients. Mix well with your hands to combine all of the ingredients. Roll into golf ball size meatballs and place on baking sheets. You should get about 4 dozen (48) meatballs. Bake meatballs until browned all over, about 18 to 20 minutes. (They do not need to be entirely cooked through, as they will cook more in the sauce). While the meatballs are baking begin the sauce. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle in ½ cup water and simmer the onions to break them down, about 2 to 3 minutes. Once the water has cooked away, add 1 teaspoon salt, the bay leaves and peperoncino. Let the peperoncino toast for a minute, then pour in the tomatoes. Slosh out the tomato cans and bowl with 4 cups hot water and add to the pot. Add the remaining teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer while the meatballs finish baking, about 10 minutes more. When the meatballs have finished baking, gently add them to the sauce and return to a simmer. Simmer, shaking the pan periodically to move but not break the meatballs, until sauce is thick and flavorful, about ½ hour. Add 1 pound spaghetti to boiling salted water. When the pasta is al dente, drain with tongs and add directly to ½ the sauce. Toss and serve immediately with some grated Grana Padano and a meatball or two on top. Add extra sauce to your taste.

More recipes by Jerrie G.

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