Spaghetti with Meatballs

  • Active Time 1h
  • Total Time 2h
  • Rating ****

Serves 6

Odds are, if a diner has a children's menu, spaghetti with meatballs is on it. Grown-ups, too, love the simplicity and goodness of this Italian-American dish. Depending on your mood, make the meatballs as small or large as you like, adjusting the frying time as necessary.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 green (spring) onions, including the tender green tops, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 3 oz Parmesan cheese, in one piece
  • 2 pounds finely ground lean beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/4 pounds dried spaghetti
  • 6 cups tomato sauce

Companion recipe: Tomato Sauce


In a small nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the green onions and sauté until almost translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the basil and the thyme and cook for 1 minute longer. Set aside to cool.

Grate enough of the Parmesan to measure 1/4 cup; set aside. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the remaining Parmesan into thin slices; set aside to use as a garnish.

In a large bowl, combine the beef and the cooked onion-herb mixture. Using your hands, work the seasoning into the meat. Then add the 1/2 teaspoon salt, the 1/4 teaspoon pepper, egg, bread crumbs, reserved grated Parmesan and parsley. Work together until evenly blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes to make the mixture easier to handle.

Form the chilled meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Working in batches if necessary, add the meatballs in a single layer; do not allow to touch. Sauté, turning to brown evenly on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the meatballs are cooked through, about 8 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Salt the water lightly and add the spaghetti. Stir immediately to separate the spaghetti strands and return to a boil. Boil until just tender to the bite, 8-10 minutes, or according to package directions.

While the spaghetti is cooking, in a large, heavy pot or saucepan over medium heat, combine the tomato sauce with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon basil. Bring to a simmer, add the meatballs, cover and simmer until the meatballs have taken on the flavor of the sauce, 5-7 minutes.

Drain the spaghetti and transfer to a large, warmed platter or individual pasta bowls. Ladle the meatballs and sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with the reserved shaved Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2398

nutrition information per serving

901 calories; 30g total fat; 102mg cholesterol; 2161mg sodium; 102g carbohydrates; 8g fiber; 56g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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