Spaghetti & Meatballs



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. It feels warm, comfortable, cozy, and just like home. And for that reason I am submitting my spaghetti and meatballs into What’s For Lunch Honey’s Monthly Mingle Comfort Foods blog event.


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 my house… the warmth of family, memories of childhood, and a connection to my heritage.

I hope you enjoy these simple and classic recipes.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 4 hours


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

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


1. To make the Sauce: 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.

4. To make the Meatballs: Preheat oven to 350.

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

6. 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.


53 Responses to “Spaghetti & Meatballs”

  1. Lindsey on February 4, 2008 at 12:49 pm

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


  2. Michelle on February 4, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks Lindsey! I’d love to hear how you like them! Keep me posted 🙂


  3. Melissa on February 4, 2008 at 1:04 pm

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


  4. Michelle on February 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm

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


  5. Kate on February 4, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    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. Michelle on February 4, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Kate – you are so sweet! I am so glad that you enjoy my blog 🙂


  7. Jhianna on February 4, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    What a lovely tradition, and it looks delicious!


  8. Michelle on February 4, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you Jhianna!


  9. Liz on February 4, 2008 at 6:43 pm

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


  10. Michelle on February 4, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Liz – I’m so glad that you enjoyed them! 🙂


  11. Amber on February 4, 2008 at 7:32 pm

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


  12. Michelle on February 4, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Thanks Amber! It definitely is a comfort meal 🙂


  13. slush on February 4, 2008 at 9:16 pm

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


  14. Michelle on February 4, 2008 at 9:25 pm

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


  15. Melissa on February 4, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    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. Michelle on February 5, 2008 at 12:02 am

    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. Meeta on February 5, 2008 at 8:40 am

    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. Michelle on February 5, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Meeta – I hope you get to enjoy them soon!


  19. MrsPresley on February 5, 2008 at 11:21 pm

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


  20. Michelle on February 5, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    MrsPresley – if you try this, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂


  21. bevsedgehills on February 6, 2008 at 6:24 am

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


  22. Michelle on February 6, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Me too Bev!


  23. Marin on February 15, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    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 🙂


  24. Michelle on February 15, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    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.


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  32. Christy on March 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I tried the sauce recipe last night, my roommate had her meatball recipe that she just HAD to make, so I will try yours in the future. But the sauce..was amazing (I did add a tiny splash of white wine). Going into my recipe bank for sure!


  33. Kimberly on April 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I’ve made this recipe twice now and had it for my family birthday party yesterday. Every person there said it was the best spaghetti and meatballs they’ve ever had. I used half ground turkey and browned the meatballs before finishing cooking them in the sauce as opposed to in the oven, but followed the rest of both recipes 100%. Thanks so much, those of us who aren’t Italian and have moms who use jarred sauce need recipes like this! 🙂


  34. Devyn on October 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    this was hands down the best spaghetti sauce and meatballs ive ever had. I was so impressed with the flavors, its better than any jar sauce out there! thank you so much for sharing this recipe, youre a rockstar.


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  37. Jenny on October 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Why do you only soak half the bread crumbs in milk? What do you do with the other 1/4 cup of crumbs?
    I am making this now and really looking forward to dinner tonight! I found your website and the 150 fall recipes look fantastic! I want to try them all. Thanks!


    • Michelle on October 15th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Jenny, It’s for texture. The other 1/4 cup of crumbs gets mixed in with all of the other ingredients. Enjoy!


  38. Emily on November 15, 2011 at 1:34 am

    how big do you make your meatballs for the cooking time you suggested? i’m definitely trying this recipe this week!


    • Michelle on November 15th, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Hi Emily, I use a large cookie scoop, which holds 3-4 tablespoons.


  39. Jennifer on February 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Meatballs and sauce simmering away on the stove now. They are PHENOMENAL. So, so, so good. The only change I made was to use crushed up croutons instead of bread crumbs, and I fried up the meatballs in some bacon grease before adding them to the sauce. This is a keeper recipe for sure.


  40. Marie B. on December 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you very much for recipe, Michelle! I made the meatballs for the second time tonight. This time I added a couple of tablespoons of minced onion, doubled the minced and powdered garlic, and increased the salt to yield even more of a flavorful blast. With these changes, this is now my favorite meatball recipe ever! Thanks again!


  41. Ellen on February 3, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Michelle–I am SO happy to see your meatballs have Romano cheese in them. My grandma made them in a similar way and if they don’t have Romano, they just aren’t “right”–don’t smell or taste like hers. My cousin who lived near to Grandma went over and watched and measured her “handful” of this and that and now we think we have a pretty good version of what she did. If only we had written down other recipes that we now crave! At any rate, she used a mix of meat–beef, pork and veal–and fresh bread that she tore into pieces, soaked in milk, then wrung out and added to the meat mix. I’m sure yours are delicious!


  42. lilit on April 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Can you make them ahead of time and freeze?


  43. Heather on May 2, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Hey Michelle! I’d love to make these for my weekly Sunday Supper with my brother and his family. If you do the meatballs for only 30 minutes in the oven, then finish them in the sauce – how long should the meatballs be in the sauce for them to finish cooking? (Dumb question I know).

    Thank you!


    • Michelle on May 12th, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Hi Heather, The meatballs should be about done in the oven, putting them in the sauce helps meld the flavors. I would leave them in at least an hour.


  44. sandra on June 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    This recipe is amazing, every time I make it I wonder if any sauce will make it to the table since everyone sneaks in and dips bread into the simmering sauce before it’s served, and by everyone I mean me too.


  45. Helen on August 12, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    This is a really dumb question, but exactly how much water is added to the sauce?


    • Michelle on August 13th, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Hi Helen, It is not measured, it is literally a swish of water around the cans to loosen any additional sauce/puree.


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  47. Jen on January 20, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Could you waterbath can the sauce?


    • Michelle on January 21st, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Hi Jen, I can’t recommend doing any long term storage with this sauce, as I have no idea if it would be safe.


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