Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs. Steve Brown Photography/Photolibrary/Getty
  • 2 hrs 10 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins,
  • Cook: 105 mins
  • Yield: 6 Servings
Ratings (36)

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.

Maria's Italian Meatballs

What You'll Need

  • 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 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped) or 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley flakes (dried)
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 box of spaghetti or linguine
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

How 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. Shape into about 3 dozen 1-inch meatballs.
  2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown meatballs over low heat in a small amount of oil, turning to brown all sides. When the meatballs are firm, drain off excess fat and then add tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, parsley, salt, and oregano.
  1. Simmer the sauce and meatballs uncovered, over low heat for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. 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.
  3. Offer a small bowl or container of grated Parmesan cheese at the table.



  • 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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Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 489
Total Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Unsaturated Fat 10 g
Cholesterol 139 mg
Sodium 275 mg
Carbohydrates 35 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Protein 42 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)