Spaghetti and meatballs are a timeless classic that has graced dinner tables around the world for generations. Originating from Italian-American cuisine, this hearty dish has become synonymous with comfort food, loved for its rich flavors and soul-satisfying appeal. Whether you're a seasoned home cook or a pasta lover looking to try something new, this guide will take you through each step of creating the perfect spaghetti and meatballs from scratch.

spaghetti and meatballs

Ingredients and Tools You'll Need


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Spaghetti:

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • Salt (for boiling water)


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Large skillet or saucepan
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Tongs or pasta fork

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Preparing the Meatball Mixture

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and egg. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Blend Thoroughly: Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients until they are well combined. Avoid overmixing, as this can make the meatballs tough.

Shaping and Cooking the Meatballs

  1. Shape Meatballs: Form the mixture into 1 to 1.5-inch meatballs, placing them on a baking sheet as you go. You should end up with about 20-24 meatballs.
  2. Cook Meatballs: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches, browning them on all sides. This should take about 8-10 minutes per batch. Once browned, set them aside on a plate.

Making the Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch

  1. Sauté Aromatics: In the same skillet, add more olive oil if needed. Sauté the chopped onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add Tomatoes and Spices: Pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir in the dried oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes (if using). Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Simmer Sauce: Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Cooking the Spaghetti to Perfection

  1. Boil Water: Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a rolling boil.
  2. Cook Spaghetti: Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions until al dente. This usually takes 8-10 minutes.
  3. Drain Pasta: Drain the spaghetti in a colander, reserving a cup of pasta water to adjust the sauce consistency if needed.

Combining Meatballs and Sauce

  1. Add Meatballs to Sauce: Gently place the browned meatballs into the simmering sauce. Let them cook together for another 15-20 minutes, allowing the meatballs to soak up the sauce and finish cooking through.

Tips for the Best Results

  • Flavorful Meatballs: For juicier and more flavorful meatballs, mix different types of ground meat like beef, pork, and veal.
  • Avoid Overcooking Pasta: To ensure your spaghetti is perfectly al dente, check it a minute or two before the package instructions suggest.
  • Enhancements and Variations: Add a splash of red wine to the sauce for depth, or sprinkle in some crushed fennel seeds into the meatball mixture for an extra kick.

Serving Suggestions and Presentation

For an impressive presentation, use tongs to create a nest of spaghetti on each plate. Place a few meatballs on top and generously spoon over the sauce. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Pair with a side of garlic bread and a simple green salad for a complete meal.

Conclusion and Invitation

Congratulations, you've made a delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs from scratch! We hope you enjoy this classic dish as much as we do. We'd love to hear about your experience and any personal touches you added to the recipe. Share your photos and feedback with us in the comments below or tag us on social media.

Happy cooking!

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