Spaghetti & Meatballs

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The ultimate in Italian comfort food.

Growing up, our extended family would gather at my Grandma’s every Sunday for the traditional Sunday dinner (which, in contrast to common nomenclature, is actually eaten by Italians at what is typically lunchtime). While there was always some type of meat on the table, some potatoes and vegetables, the star of dinner was always pasta. It may have been ravioli, gnocchi, manicotti, lasagna, spaghetti (all homemade, of course), or some other variation of pasta, but without a doubt, you could always count on a great pasta dish. Forty miles south, Nick was growing up in an equally Italian household, with the tradition of spaghetti and meatballs every Sunday. So what else would naturally occur when we’d get married and move two hours away from our families than our own tradition of pasta each Sunday? In our house it usually takes the form of spaghetti and meatballs, accompanied by homemade marinara sauce. It feels warm, comfortable, cozy, and just like home to us. And for that reason I am submitting my spaghetti and meatballs into What’s For Lunch Honey’s Monthly Mingle Comfort Foods blog event.

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Meeta asked fellow bloggers to celebrate the foods that pick us up when we are down, warms us when we are feeling lost, and blurs out the bad mood. This is what spaghetti and meatballs represent in our house… the warmth of family, memories of childhood, and a connection to our heritage.

I hope you enjoy these simple and classic recipes – the meatballs are an adaptation of the recipe that my mother-in-law uses, and the spaghetti sauce is one I have developed over time through trial and error.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28-oz. can tomato puree
1 28-oz. can tomato sauce
2.5 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Water from rinsing extra sauce and puree from inside of cans
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons sugar

1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat until onion is tender.

2. Add tomato sauce, tomato puree, parsley, basil, water, salt, and sugar.

3. Stir and lower heat to a slow simmer. This best if it’s left to simmer for at least 2 hours.

Italian Meatballs

(Adapted from my mother-in-law)

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried Italian parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup bread crumbs, divided
½ cup grated Romano cheese
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine 1/4 cup of bread crumbs with milk and let soak for 10 minutes. Combine with all remaining ingredients and shape into balls.

3. Cook for 30 minutes and then add to sauce. If you want to cook them the whole way in the oven, cook for 40-45 minutes, depending on size.

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27 Responses

  1. Looks very good!! I am going to try your meatball recipe this week!!

  2. Thanks Lindsey! I’d love to hear how you like them! Keep me posted :)

  3. I might just try this tonight since I have a pound of ground beef sitting in the fridge!

  4. Hi Melissa, it’s a great hearty meal! Let me know if you give it a try!

  5. Everyday when I read your blog I’m reminded again of why I read your blog. Even something as simple as spaghetti and meatballs looks fabulous.

  6. Kate – you are so sweet! I am so glad that you enjoy my blog :)

  7. What a lovely tradition, and it looks delicious!

  8. Thank you Jhianna!

  9. These meatballs are *delicious*! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  10. Liz – I’m so glad that you enjoyed them! :)

  11. This looks awesome Chelle! Spaghetti and meatballs sounds really good right about now.

  12. Thanks Amber! It definitely is a comfort meal :)

  13. I could so use a plate of that right now. It looks fantastic Chelle!

  14. Thanks Laurie – if I were back in the ‘burgh I’d bring you some leftovers!

  15. Yum, made them tonight and they were great! Question…what do you put them on to bake in the oven? I put mine on a cookie sheet, but they got a little crispy on the bottom.

  16. Hi Melissa, I’m glad that you enjoyed them! I have a Pampered Chef stoneware 15×11 pan that I usually bake them on. Before I had that I would use a non-stick jelly roll pan. They did get more crispy in the non-stick pan than in the stoneware pan. Perhaps lining the cookie sheet with parchment paper would keep them from crisping up on the bottom?

  17. Oh baby! It could not get better than this. I really love making meatballs and spaghetti – reminds me that I have not made it for a while now!

  18. Meeta – I hope you get to enjoy them soon!

  19. i have a recipe i already use, but am always looking for something new so i can’t wait to try this :)

  20. MrsPresley – if you try this, I hope you enjoy it! :)

  21. I could eat a big bowl of this right now! I love meatballs mmmmm

  22. My sauce recipe is similar to yours…just thought I’d recommend trying a little red wine in the sauce. I usually add some to the meatballs as well. So yummy :)

  23. You know my mom uses a splash of wine in her sauce, but I just don’t like the flavor of wine… I’ve never liked it, so I don’t use it much in cooking.

  24. [...] What’s Cooking? board recently. I thought that they would pair perfectly with Chelley’s homemade spaghetti sauce. Original meatball recipe is from Rachel Ray. I made the meatballs like Amber and baked them in the [...]

  25. I am going to try this tonight! Got this recipe from a couple pages after pinterest!

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