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Spaghetti and Meatballs

spaghetti and meatball recipesWhenever this dude gets a chance to have a dinner request, this is what he asks for.  Spaghetti and Meatballs is his absolute favorite meal.  I like to make it for him because everyone in my house will eat it.  Well, Ava only eats the spaghetti, but there is no drama when this dinner is put in front of my children.  This dinner is also a favorite for me because I get two dinners for one.  I always double the amount and freeze half for another night.  On the other night, I will usually make meatball subs or put some meatballs in a baked ziti or a lasagna.  I try to change it up.  It is a win-win for all.

This is the type of dinner that I was talking about in my Sunday Dinner post.  It takes a little more time and effort to make, but it is so worth it.  It is wholesome and warm.  My kids love it and will eat it.  We set a nice table, have a crispy salad and maybe if I am really motivated, some garlic bread.  When I am really, really motivated, I will make my own pasta.  There is something so cozy about spaghetti and meatballs.

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentis and it is one of the my favorites.  I deviate from Giada’s recipe in that she uses a mixture of beef, veal and pork, but I use all beef.

spaghetti and meatball recipes

For the meatballs:

1 small onion grated
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 egg
3 Tablespoons ketchup
3 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 dried Italian bread crumbs
18 ounces lean ground beef

spaghetti and meatball recipe

For the Marinara Sauce:

1/2 cup olive oil
2 small onions chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 stalked chopped celery
2 carrots diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I use San Marzano because I think that they are the best.  More expensive, but completely worth it.)
2 dried bay leaves

spaghetti and meatball recipesGiada says to put the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.  And then stir in the cheese and bread crumbs.  Then mix in the beef.  Obviously, I did not do this in this picture, do as I say, not as I do.  It is easier to incorporate all of the ingredients when you do it her way.

spaghetti and meatball recipesOne of my most favorite kitchen tools.  Disposable gloves.  I am not a huge fan of touching stuff with bare hands, so these are a Godsend.  I roll my meatballs fairly small.  I use an ice cream scooper to try and get them roughly the same size.

spaghetti and meatball recipesGiada fries her meatballs in a pan with olive oil.  I like to bake mine.  I think that it is a little healthier.  I line a baking sheet covered with tin foil.  I put a cooling rack on top of that coated with a little cooking spray.

spaghetti and meatball recipesBake them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  It will depend on the size of your meatballs.  They are also going to be simmered in the sauce too, so do not over cook them or they will be really dry.

spaghetti and meatball recipesIn a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes.  The onions will soften.  (I do not usually use red onions, but that is what I had at the time.  It was nap time and I was not heading out over onions.)

spaghetti and meatball recipesAdd the celery, carrots, salt and pepper to the pot.  Cook until the veggies are soft, another 10 minutes or so.

spaghetti and meatball recipesAdd the crushed tomatoes and bay leaves.  I like my sauce fairly smooth so I hit it with my immersion blender.

spaghetti and meatball recipesSimmer over low heat until the sauce thickens, about an hour.

spaghetti and meatball recipesAdd your meatballs and let simmer uncovered with the sauce.  Give it a stir every 10-15 minutes or so.  Be careful when you are cooking the sauce to not break up the meatballs when you stir it.

spaghetti and meatball recipesI serve half of it for dinner and put the other half in Ziploc bags.  I like to freeze this way, because it takes far less time to defrost when the bags are flat like this.  I also get a lot more space out of my freezer this way.

spaghetti and meatball recipesServe over some pasta and sprinkle with cheese.  Dinner (that everyone loves) is served!

Print

Spaghetti and Meatballs


Ingredients

  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 dried Italian bread crumbs
  • 18 ounces lean ground beef
  • For the Marinara Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 small onions chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 stalked chopped celery
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I use San Marzano because I think that they are the best. More expensive, but completely worth it.)
  • 2 dried bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Put the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. And then stir in the cheese and bread crumbs. Then mix in the beef.
  2. I roll my meatballs fairly small. I use an ice cream scooper to try and get them roughly the same size.
  3. Bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. It will depend on the size of your meatballs. They are also going to be simmered in the sauce too, so do not over cook them or they will be really dry.
  4. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes. The onions will soften. (I do not usually use red onions, but that is what I had at the time. It was nap time and I was not heading out over onions.)
  5. Add the celery, carrots, salt and pepper to the pot. Cook until the veggies are soft, another 10 minutes or so.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes and bay leaves. I like my sauce fairly smooth so I hit it with my immersion blender.
  7. Simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens, about an hour.
  8. Add your meatballs and let simmer uncovered with the sauce. Give it a stir every 10-15 minutes or so. Be careful when you are cooking the sauce to not break up the meatballs when you stir it.
  9. Serve over some pasta and sprinkle with cheese. Dinner (that everyone loves) is served!

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  1. Tanya

    September 4th, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I love Giada! I make the above sauce all the time! I like your idea of freezing the sauce in bags and will definitely try that. I sometimes fry and sometimes bake. The fried version is my mother-in-laws recipe so my husband insists! Love your pictures. Will be back to visit again.

  2. bakedbree

    September 6th, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    thanks! i love freezing it in bags, takes far less time to defrost. I hope that you do come back.

  3. Christina

    September 4th, 2010 at 6:10 am

    san marzano- only way to go!

  4. bakedbree

    September 6th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I totally agree!

  5. Megan

    September 4th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    perfect!It’s my son’s birthday today and he asked for spaghetti and meatballs so I’ll be making this tonight.

  6. bakedbree

    September 6th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    hope that he liked his birthday dinner!

  7. Erin Ledford

    September 4th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I know how much my entire family enjoys your turkey meatballs and marinara…I will try these soon! I still talk about how I came home and you had cooked us a home cooked meal. Suprisingly I am cooking tonight…put on some weight this week eating out too much. Back to home cooked with the occassional meal out rather than the other way around. Love your recipes…they are inspiring:)

  8. bakedbree

    September 6th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    thanks E!

  9. joudie's Mood Food

    September 5th, 2010 at 9:10 am

    This looks so good. I am starving right now and this is exactly what i am looking for. Simple is best. I love the recipe for the meatballs. Mine are usually quite simple, but i will try this for sure. LOVELY!

  10. bakedbree

    September 6th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    this is a very good meatball. moist and reasonably healthy.

  11. The Healthy Apple

    September 6th, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Deliciously beautiful meatballs…yum…I, too bake my meatballs..extra healthy and very tasty!

  12. bakedbree

    September 6th, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    they are yummy.

  13. Snappy

    March 28th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Just a question about the ingredients for the meatballs… it says 1/4 dried italian bread crumbs. I assume it’s 1/4 a cup?

  14. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Yes, a 1/4 cup. Thanks for catching that.

  15. 1st time mom

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    would it b ok if i baked the meatballs in a glass baking dish? would it matter…with a little olive oil on the bottom to prevent sticking?

  16. bakedbree

    June 28th, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I can’t see why not?

  17. kat

    November 2nd, 2011 at 1:01 am

    ahhhhh that looks amazing!! i love making my own meatballs and sauce!

  18. bakedbree

    November 7th, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    me too!

  19. tenzin

    November 17th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I’ve made this about 3 times now, and it’s the best spaghetti recipe I’ve ever made! I am usually cooking for 2 but I’ve never had to freeze the sauce because we eat the leftovers everyday.

    Although, the first time I made the recipe, I used only one can of 32oz tomato sauce (i accidentally forgot to add the second can) and the sauce had a nice thickness due to celery and carrots. Ever since, I’ve been adding 1.5 can of sauce to achieve similar consistency.

  20. bakedbree

    November 18th, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I am so glad that you like this recipe so much. Have you tried the turkey and pesto ones? Those are great too.

  21. May H

    November 26th, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Great recipe….. can I use turkey instead of beef? Also, how many can be served with this recipe?
    Thanks!!

  22. bakedbree

    November 27th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    of course you can, I would say 4? It depends on how big your meatballs are.

  23. James Creamer

    December 24th, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Made this tonight for part of Christmas dinner for tomorrow. I had to taste it. SOOO good. I’m going to have to get some of Giada’s cookbooks for sure.

  24. bakedbree

    December 31st, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Her books are really good. Easy recipes.

  25. Que Delish

    January 9th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Made this tonight and subbed in matzah meal for the bread crumbs, 1 Tbsp dried parsley instead of fresh parsley (next time will have to make w/ fresh!) … I have a feeling we won’t be buying frozen meatballs from the grocery anymore, these were simply amazing!!! Thanks so much for sharing Bree!

  26. bakedbree

    January 17th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I am glad that you liked them!

  27. Drew

    January 28th, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    is this a double recipe? im cooking for 9 tonight and didnt know i need to double the measurements or not!

  28. bakedbree

    January 28th, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    No it isn’t.

  29. N

    May 15th, 2012 at 11:55 am

    HI,

    I made the above recipe. However, I am not using an oven and tried to fry the meatballs in oil. I think the ketchup is the reason that the meatballs are darkening fast and are falling apart. Is there anything I can do to use the meat? Thank you.

  30. bakedbree

    May 22nd, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Crumble it into the sauce and call it meat sauce.

  31. Tricia

    June 16th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    My 4 year old has been requesting meatballs lately, this recipe is the one I shall use! Thanks! Glad I found it!

  32. bakedbree

    June 19th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Mine love meatballs, they will love the turkey pesto ones too.

  33. communiDIY

    September 20th, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Yum! I made the sauce (but not the meatballs) last night! I was in a bit of a hurry, so no time for the meatballs, but the sauce was great! I love all your recipes! Thanks for sharing.

  34. bakedbree

    September 23rd, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I am so glad!

  35. Niki

    May 6th, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Your food looks delicious I love your site.

  36. bakedbree

    May 6th, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    thank you Niki!

  37. trisha mae

    April 11th, 2014 at 3:14 am

    hi. are those given recipes are good for how many people or how many servings could it make? because i have an idea to have this recipe, i mean only a part of it, could be one of the foods to our menu. thanks. hope i get my reply fast.. thank you very much! 🙂

  38. bakedbree

    April 16th, 2014 at 11:30 am

    4 to 6 people.

  39. Annie

    May 19th, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    How many servings does this make? Cooking for a group of 14 this weekend and wasn’t sure how much to make. Thanks!

  40. bakedbree

    May 19th, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    I’d double it at the very least, but probably triple.

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