Classic Italian-American Spaghetti with Meatballs

Classic Italian-American Spaghetti with Meatballs

Spaghetti with meatballs is an Italian-American dish consisting of spaghetti, tomato sauce and meatballs. It is widely believed that spaghetti with meatballs was an innovation of early 20th-century Italian immigrants in New York City. Italian culinary writers often mock the dish as pseudo-Italian, because in Italy meatballs are smaller in size, and not eaten in combination with pasta. That said, various kinds of pasta combined with meat are traditionally consumed in parts of Southern Italy.


Spaghetti with Meatballs recipe

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 2.2 lbs. of ground beef
  • 2 pounds of Italian sausage, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of powdered onion
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 16 fresh black peppercorns
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 4 cans (28 oz each) of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes (chopped with liquid) or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (28 oz each) of water
  • 2 cans (12 oz each) of tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of powdered onion
  • 4 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 16 fresh black peppercorns
  • 4 teaspoons of olive oil

Additional Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds or more of spaghetti, depending on the number of people
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for convection baking.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients. Mix well using your hands.
  3. Roll the mixture into meatballs, making them the size of a golf ball. A portion scoop can be used for uniform size.
  4. Place the meatballs on a sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through. You can cut open one meatball to check for doneness.
  5. While the meatballs are baking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  6. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the sauce to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer for one hour.
  8. Once the meatballs are cooked, add them to the simmering sauce along with the drippings from the sheet pan.
  9. Allow the meatballs to simmer in the sauce for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente.
  11. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the cooked spaghetti.
  12. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

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