Primo - Rice & Pasta

How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs

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There are so many Italian dishes that have become very popular all over the world, and many just like spaghetti and meatballs have become a combination of two famous Italian dishes.

For so many in the USA, they are a synonym for comfort food.

This Italo-American dish after it’s success in the States has taken its journey in winning over new fans in the old continent.

Perhaps this is something that your mom would make for you when you were little. A generation passes, but the spaghetti with meatballs remains as one of the staple dishes, perhaps tweaked with your special spices like peperoncini or some family secret ingredient. 😉

Maybe you make them just as your mom and grandma did, as it a perfectly delicious recipe you pass on religiously. 

Juicy, flavorful, and utterly delicious meatballs in creamy tomato sauce will make your whole face smile. Add the spaghetti and you will get the match made in heaven.

The perfect combination of meat and carbs in one amazing dish.

By the way, do you know what Italians call it? Spaghetti con le polpette di carne.

Are you ready to start cooking? Wrap your sleeves and let’s start.

If you love meatballs you should check these exquisite Oven Baked Meatballs.

How to make spaghetti and meatballs?

The best way is the start with the preparation of meatballs. So let’s roll up our sleeves and take that minced meat out of the fridge. Place it in the bowl and add finely chopped parsley and onion. Stir the mixture together, add salt and pepper. Take out the tray and place it next to the bowl. Scoop the meat with a teaspoon and start forming little meatballs, rolling them in your hands until they get the perfectly round shape.

PRO TIP: My trick is to have wet hands so that the meat doesn’t stick to the hands. 

spaghetti and meatballs

How to cook spaghetti and meatballs?

Once you have formed your meatballs, take out the frying pan. In Italy, we always fry them first a bit in order to seal all the juices inside the meatballs. Once your meatballs have become nice golden-brown, set them aside.

In a large shallow pot add some olive oil and chopped onion and stir occasionally over the low heat to get sauteed onions. Once they are ready add tomato puree and stir all together. Bring it to boil and add salt and pepper as needed.

Once the tomato sauce starts boiling, add the meatballs.

Lower the heat to medium and let it cook for the next 20-25 min.

While you are waiting for meatballs to cook you will place the big pot on the stove and bring water to boil. Once it starts to boil add a handful of coarse salt and stir with the wooden spoon. Add spaghetti and let them cook as directed on the packaging. We like them al dente and I usually cook one minute less than what’s recommended.

When pasta is cooked, drain it (without rinsing it) and place directly into the pot with the meatballs. Mix all the ingredients gently (we don’t want meatballs to fall apart) and serve on a plate.

spaghetti and meatballs

If you are serving this as a dinner for guests and want to bring the dish to the table, use a large bowl and transfer all from the pot inside (even though bringing the pot to the table is easier, it is more beautiful to see it served in a large ceramic bowl.

This spaghetti and meatballs recipe is super simple, but if you are busy you can always prepare the meatballs in advance and freeze them and then only add spaghetti when you want a quick and delicious meal.

spaghetti and meatballs

How to reheat spaghetti and meatballs and can you use the microwave to do it?

Traditional Italian families don’t use much microwave to reheat the food, not for the lack of them, but they are just not used to it. Reheating it done in a traditional way, on the stove with a lid on a pot. However, you can easily reheat your spaghetti and meatballs in the microwave without losing any flavor or quality.

What are the best side dishes?

In Italian tradition, pasta is served alone without any side dish. Pasta is the queen and doesn’t need to be accompanied by anything. 

Actually the only thing that can accompany a pasta dish is a glass of good wine. And if you were wondering which wine Italians pair with red sauce pasta that also contains the meat, the answer is simple – red wine if you want to have a full rounded flavor.

I also like a smooth cool white wine, such as Pinot Grigio (Pi-no Gri-jo).

However, if you really must, the good side dish would be a simple green salad with light EVOO dressing. 

Can you freeze meatballs?

Absolutely, but I would advise you to freeze only the sauce with meatballs as pasta when defrosted is not the best. Plus you can cook it in 10 min, so it’s always better to have a freshly cooked pasta with defrosted warm sauce.

Serves 4 persons

How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs

Who says he doesn't like Spaghetti and meatballs didn't taste these ones. 🙂 This classic Italo-American dish is a winner and loved by kids all over the world. You can make the meatballs and sauce and freeze it and only cook spaghetti when you have an unexpected visitors popping at your door! Easy, delicious and so simple that even a beginner could make them.

15 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 500 grams of ground meat (I buy mix of pork and beef)
  • 400 grams of spaghetti (feeds 4 people)
  • 3 slices of bread
  • 2 cans of tomato (my preferred is Mutti polpa)
  • 2 medium size red onions (1 for sauce and 1 for meatballs)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 of cup of milk or water (to soak the bread)
  • 3 table spoons of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • Bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • Peperoncino (red hot peppers if you like a spicy flavors)


  1. Chop the bread and place it in the bowl, let it soak in milk (or water) to soften.
  2. Once the bread is moist add ground meat, finely chopped onion, and fresh parsley.
  3. Add salt and pepper and mix all well.
  4. You can do it in the kitchen robot of using your hands.
  5. Once the whole mix is formed nicely, start making the small meatballs.
  6. My trick is to water my palms so that they don't stick.
  7. Once you have formed all the balls (I usually get about 35 mini meatballs from this quantity) start adding them you your frying pan.
  8. While the meatballs are getting nice golden color over medium hear, you will need to slice and chop finely an onion and carrots.
  9. Once done, place them into a big bowl with some EVOO and stir. Let the onion get nice and glossy and then add some salt and 2 cans of tomatoes.
  10. Stir all and let it simmer on low heat.
  11. Check your meatballs and rotate them so that they get even color on all sides.
  12. Once all of the meatballs are nice and golden add them to the tomato sauce.
  13. Taste the sauce and add as needed salt and pepper (I add some peperoncino for richer flavor).
  14. I usually cook meatballs in sauce for another 15-20 min and in the meantime I prepare the spaghetti.
  15. Once all is done, add cooked spaghetti (make sure you don't overcook spaghetti) to the sauce and stir carefully.
  16. You don't want to cut the meatballs while mixing it.
  17. Thats it! Super simple and I'm sure you and your family will love it.
  18. P.S. if you are wondering why do we fry first a bit the meatballs, the answer is to seal them on outside so that they don't fall apart while cooking in the sauce. This way they preserve the juiciness on inside too. 🙂
  19. Buon appetito!


lacto vegetarian
ovo vegetarian
soy free
wheat free
seafood free
treenut free
sesame free
mustard free



321 cal


13 g


44 g


8 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

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