Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Steve Brown Photography/Photolibrary/Getty
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 105 mins
Total: 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
489 Calories
20g Fat
35g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 489
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 275mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Protein 42g
Calcium 161mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a classic, great tasting combination, spaghetti, meatballs, and a flavorful tomato sauce. Serve with garlic bread or warm rolls and a tossed salad for a perfect family meal.

The sauce is delicious with the meatballs, but you can skip the meatballs. Just brown the ground beef with the basil, salt, and pepper and then simmer with the sauce. See the tips for more ideas and variations.


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (fine dry)
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 2​ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 (14.5 ounces) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 box spaghetti (1 pound, or linguine)
  • Parmesan cheese (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine ground beef with bread crumbs, egg, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, water, 1/2 teaspoon basil, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  2. Shape into about 3 dozen 1-inch meatballs.

  3. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown meatballs over low heat in a small amount of oil, turning to brown all sides.

  4. When the meatballs are firm, drain off excess fat and then add tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, parsley, salt, and oregano.

  5. Simmer the sauce and meatballs uncovered, over low heat for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  6. Just before the sauce is done, cook the linguine or spaghetti in boiling salted water following the package directions. Drain well and serve it hot along with the sauce.

  7. Offer a small bowl or container of grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

Recipe Variations

  • The meatballs may be baked. Shape the meatballs, place them on a cooling rack in a large rimmed baking pan and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Combine them in a Dutch oven with the sauce ingredients and proceed with the recipe.
  • Add chopped bell pepper and/or shredded carrot to the sauce, if desired.
  • Basic Meat Sauce - Instead of making meatballs, brown the ground beef in a small amount of oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Drain well and then add the sauce ingredients to the pan. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

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