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The Ultimate Spagetti and Meatballs


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  • Ingredients:
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed, cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups heated Pomodoro Sauce (see below), or good quality jarred tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil
  • Shaved parmigiano reggiano, for garnish
  • 1 pound fresh spaghetti (pasta recipe follows)
  • Pomodoro Sauce
  • Time: A little under an hour
  • Makes 4 cups
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained and crushed by hand, liquid reserved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces



Step 1

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but not colored, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.

Pour the milk over the bread in a bowl and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan you'll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands until just mixed together. Don't overwork the mixture or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into 10 equal pieces and shape them into 10 nice looking meatballs.

Heat a 3-count of oil in the skillet over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over. Shower with the mozzarella and scatter half of the basil leaves over; drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti. Pour over the rest of the sauce and toss. Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with the rest of the basil leaves.

Pomodoro Sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes) and about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring for a few minutes with a wooden spoon to further break up the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season again.

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