Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti and meatballs tossed with red sauce is an Italian classic, and just will never go out of style.  It makes people happy.  It’s a perfect Sunday Supper, but also the kind of thing I turn to during cold weather for entertaining friends.  If you think comfort food is just for family meals, please – please, think again.

These make hefty 1 ½ inch size meatballs, meatballs that take a few bites to eat.  You can make bigger or small meatballs as you like, just adjust cooking time.

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Baking Meatballs in the Oven

I like to partially bake the meatballs in the oven, then finish cooking them in the sauce.  It helps them hold their shape, and release some excess fat, but then allows them to really soak up that delicious sauce in the cooking.  You may want to line the baking sheet with foil or parchment first.  You can also cook meatballs completely in sauce; use a large deep skillet for that so you don’t pile them up and squish them.

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Spaghetti is the classing pairing for meatballs, and I can picture my dad digging into a plate with a great deal of gusto. This was a oft-dad-requested dinner! Not in the mood for spaghetti?  That’s fine — so many other pastas cozy up to meatballs happily.  Any long skinny noodle is twirlable with meatballs: linguine, fettuccine, thin spaghetti.  But, chunkier cuts like ziti, penne and rigatoni are also good. Your call!

Spaghetti with Meatballs: Spaghetti and meatballs tossed with red sauce is an Italian classic, makes people happy, and just will never go out of style. 

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Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

What the Kids Can Do

Tear the bread into pieces, combine it with the milk and egg, and form the meatballs (wash hands very thoroughly with warm soapy water before and after!) Pull the parsley from the stem and chop with an age appropriate knife. 

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

What to Serve with Spaghetti and Meatballs:

A simple salad might be all you need to round out this meal.  Oh, and probably some garlic bread.

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Other Hearty Italian Pasta Recipes: 

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Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

This perfect Italian classic makes people so happy, and just will never go out of style.
Yield: 6 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1 slice plain bread
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg , lightly beaten
  • 1 pound ground beef (90/10%)
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese , divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
  • 1 garlic clove , minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups tomato sauce for pasta, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or lightly oil the baking sheet. You may want to line the baking sheet with foil or parchment first.
  • Tear the bread into small pieces and place them into a large bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and use your fingers to work the bread and milk together into a paste. Mix in the egg. Add the beef and pork, half the Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Use your hands to combine the mixture gently but thoroughly.
  • Form the meat mixture into nice round meatballs, about 1½ inches in size and place them on the baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes, until almost cooked through. Meanwhile, bring the Tomato Sauce to a simmer in a large sized pot over medium-low heat (you will be adding the meatballs to the sauce, so allow room for that).
  • While the meatballs are baking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water comes to a boil, just before the meatballs come out of the oven, cook the pasta for about 9 minutes, or according to package directions, until tender.
  • Once the pasta has started cooking, add the mostly-cooked meatballs to the simmering sauce and simmer for 5 more minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Drain the cooked pasta and transfer to a serving bowl. Pour over the meatballs and sauce.
  • Serve, or toss gently to combine well, passing the remaining Parmesan on the side for sprinkling.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 609kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1079mg | Potassium: 978mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 774IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 5mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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