More Great Recipes: Beef | Main Dish | Pasta

Classic spaghetti and meatballs

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Member since 2006
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Serves | Prep Time | Cook Time

Why I Love This Recipe

Ingredients You'll Need

8 oz cooked pasta

1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1 lb. ground beef (I use extra lean ground beef but if you don't mind the fat content a mixture of ground beef and ground pork works well)
1 egg
1 tsp salt
ground pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Basic Sauce:
1/2 onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 28oz can whole tomatoes (or 1 of each 14.5 oz cans of diced and crushed tomatoes OR just crushed tomatoes)
salt and pepper to taste
basil, fresh or dried, to taste
pinch or two of sugar
dash or two of red wine (optional)
dash of crushed red pepper


Preheat oven to 400*

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, a pinch of salt, and cook about 2-3 minutes before adding parsley and garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes more and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs and milk in large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the onion mixture, beef, egg, parmesan, salt, basil and pepper to the bread crumb bowl. Mix well, but not for too long or you will toughen the meatballs. Form into 1-1.5" balls and place in a pan coated with cooking spray. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes or until done. (Alternatively you can fry the meatballs but of course that isn't as healthy)

Add cooked meatballs to pasta sauce and simmer a little, while pasta is cooking (I usually toss the pasta in the boiling water just after adding the cooked meatballs to the sauce).

If you are using whole tomatoes, puree half the tomatoes and chop/core the remaining into chunks. Use about 1/4 cup or reserved liquid from the can, and dump the rest. If you are using diced + crushed combo or crushed alone measure to about 2 cups total tomato (add liquid to make 2 cups if necessary).

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saucier over medium heat. Add onions and saute about a minute before adding tomato paste. Cook an additional 2 minutes or so, being careful not to burn the onion/paste, before adding garlic. Cook for an additional minute or two until garlic is just browned.

Add splash of red wine (if you want) to deglaze and then add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, and basil. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer while meatballs are in the oven.

Add cooked meatballs to sauce while pasta is cooking. Toss with your favorite pasta (I use whole wheat cappelini)

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