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The best spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs isn’t exactly a weeknight dinner but when you do have time for this classic comfort it’s oh so delicious. Tender, flavorful meatballs and sauce slow simmered and piled high on pasta. It’s pretty special!

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a big platter of spaghetti and meatballs with a fork

I realize that there are spaghetti and meatball experts out there and I should probably apologize beforehand for any offense this post causes to your traditional ways.

We all have them. Please forgive a southern girl, but we really liked these meatballs and when a recipe is a success, it needs to belong to you as much as to me.

This is not a weeknight dinner. In fact it took me an hour and a half to make the meatballs, fry them and simmer them in sauce. That’s a Sunday dinner and not a Tuesday night grab and go (unless you freeze them–see my comments on that below). So be prepared for the time investment.

Fancy enough for company? Yes.

My mark for what I serve company is based entirely on how delicious and versatile something is and in this case, these meatballs are delicious. Perfectly seasoned, super tender and delicate, but still filling.

You could easily make these for guests and not feel one bit bad about it.

What sauce is best for meatballs?

That’s up to you really. I know homemade is the classic way and I’ve made buckets of it from scratch and it is amazing. If you have time do it–but I discovered a delicious, clean pasta sauce in Farm to Fork and since I found it I don’t see the need to make my own until tomatoes are in season.

If you want to make your own, try a recipe like this.

a big skillet of meatballs simmering in sauce

Can these meatballs be baked instead of fried?

Yes they sure can. That would cut the hands-on time down significantly but I think you lose a bit of the crispy outsides with baking. You would also want to skip the flour coating on these if you baked them. It would just get pasty and gross.

How to make spaghetti and meatballs step by step

Step 1: Mix ground beef (you can also use a blend of pork and veal here too) with breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings in a bowl. Make sure your onions are about 1,000 times smaller than mine. I’m having trouble with my hands these days so my dicing skills are sketchy.

Step 2: Using your hands, gently work everything together and then quit mixing. The more you fiddle the tougher your meatballs will be.

Step 3: Roll 1 1/2″ balls. Keep them very small so they cook evenly when you fry them. Plus you want them to be easy to eat. Make sure you yell at your onions for being too big, and then toss them in a light coating of flour. Shake off any excess and get ready to fry.

Step 4: Fry your meatballs in batches so they can get brown on all sides. I used avocado oil for my fry here, but refined coconut oil would also be great. We don’t use vegetable oil anymore for these reasons. Give them space and turn them to cook evenly then transfer to a bowl while you make the sauce. (Or in this case dump the sauce in the skillet). Just wipe out the same pan and use it.

Step 5: Once your meatballs are all cooked up, boil a big pot of water, salt it like the sea, and start your pasta. Add the meatballs to your gently simmering sauce and allow everyone to get to know each other for 8 to 10 minutes before piling high on your spaghetti.

How to freeze meatballs

You can easily freeze the meatballs individually or in their sauce. To freeze just the meatballs, lay them out on a cookie sheet and allow them to freeze then transfer to an air tight container for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or cover and rewarm in the oven.

To freeze in sauce, cool to room temperature then transfer the sauce and meatballs to an airtight container and freeze up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or cover and rewarm in a 350 degree oven until hot and bubbling.

a big platter of spaghetti and meatballs with a fork

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and tender, flavorful meatballs slow simmered in fresh tomato sauce is the perfect Sunday supper.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 891kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef chuck or a blend of veal, pork and beef totaling 1 pound
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • oil for frying avocado, refined coconut oil or vegetable

For the sauce

For the spaghetti

  • 14 ounces spaghetti uncooked

Instructions

  • Mix the ground beef and next 8 ingredients (through the dried oregano) together in a bowl with your hands. Do not overmix.
  • Roll 1 1/2" balls (no larger so they will cook evenly) and roll in flour. Shake off excess.
  • In a heavy bottomed skillet add oil to 1/2" deep and heat over medium-high. Fry meatballs in batches, turning on all sides for even browning, until the meatballs reach 160 degrees–about 6 or 7 minutes total. Adjust the heat of the oil as needed to maintain even browning.
  • Transfer meatballs to a plate, pour off any oil, and carefully wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add the pasta sauce to the skillet and heat on low and add the meatballs to the sauce.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt until the water tastes like the sea. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions. Drain.
  • Pile the spaghetti and top with meatballs, sauce and extra parmesan. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 891kcal | Carbohydrates: 113g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 2252mg | Potassium: 1475mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1790IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 269mg | Iron: 8mg

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