Impress everyone with this Spaghetti with Meatballs recipe by making your own marinara sauce and homemade meatballs. This classic dish is always a winner! This recipe highlights an all-beef meatball, but you could always use my pork and beef meatball recipe. If you love spaghetti, give my Spaghetti Pizza or Chicken Meatballs and Spaghetti a try!
Spaghetti with Meatballs
Spaghetti with Meatballs is a classic recipe that is still one of the most popular pasta dishes. It is so simple, yet so delicious! Making your own meatballs and sauce is pretty impressive, but it is easier than you might think! A bonus would be if everyone starts singing the ‘On Top of Spaghetti’ to really get in the mood. (Although I hope nobody loses the meatballs that are on top of the spaghetti!)
Spaghetti with Meatballs Recipe
There are three parts to this recipe–the noodles, the tomato sauce, and the meatballs. The timing works out pretty well so it can all come together for a lovely dinner. Set out a basket of Country Garlic Cheese Bread to really show off!
Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce Ingredients (see full recipe below)
- Spaghetti noodles
- Green bell pepper
- Diced tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Black pepper
- Ground beef
- Parmesan cheese
- Flat-leaf parsley
- Black pepper
- Minced garlic
How to Make Marinara Sauce
This recipe starts with a marinara sauce. Marinara sauce is a simple tomato sauce. Once you call it spaghetti sauce, it usually has meat and vegetables added to it. Don’t worry, by the time we add the meatballs, you can refer to it as spaghetti sauce😀. Also, as the marinara sauce simmers, you will have time to make the meatballs and cook the pasta noodles.
To get started on the sauce, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and green pepper, cooking for 5-10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, making sure to not burn the garlic. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for up to an hour. Allowing the sauce to simmer helps the flavors blend and concentrate and it will thicken the sauce. You can do this for any amount of time, but an hour is the absolute best. (I know some Italian’s make their sauce over the course of 2 days!) Plus your house will smell amazing!
How to Make Meatballs
It’s easy to make these meatballs. In fact, you will probably choose to make your own meatballs from now on and skip the frozen meatballs. First, combine the ground beef, egg, cheese, parsley and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, breadcrumbs, garlic, and onion. Add the milk mixture to the ground beef mixture. Don’t overmix all the ingredients. I would suggest that you grease your hands before you start forming the meatballs. Place each ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I was able to make 24 meatballs out of this batch, but it does depend on how big you want to make them. Since they are going in the spaghetti sauce, I would keep them to about an inch. Just double-check that each meatball reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. I used ground beef for this recipe, but try some other meat like chicken, turkey, or pork!
Freezing Spaghetti Sauce
You can make homemade spaghetti sauce in a large batch and freeze it for later. Made fresh, the sauce can stay in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. If you are going to freeze it, make sure it cools completely. I put mine in a freezer-safe ziplock bag and try as hard as I can to get rid of any air in the bag. Make sure to label the bag with a date since the sauce will need to be used in 3-4 months. To use, drop the bag of frozen sauce in a pot of hot water until it is heated through. Remove the bag from the water and drop the contents into a pot to simmer for a few minutes. This will remove any of the excess moisture that accumulated through the freezing process.
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Spaghetti with Meatballs
Topped with homemade tomato sauce and meatballs, Spaghetti with Meatballs is a traditional pasta dish that doesn't disappoint.
- 1 box (16 ounces) spaghetti noodles, cooked per package instructions
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (16 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 cup onion, finely chopped
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat, and add the onion and green pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent (about 5-10 minutes).
Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste into the pan. Season with oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer spaghetti sauce for 20 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
While sauce is simmering, cook the meatballs.
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, beaten egg, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix together until just combined.
In a medium bowl, combine the milk, breadcrumbs, garlic, and onion.
Add milk mixture to the meat mixture being careful not to overwork ingredients.
Form into 1-inch meatballs, greasing hands before starting to keep the meat from sticking, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place in preheated oven and roast until the outsides are browned and they read 165°F on a meat thermometer (about 25 minutes).
Add baked meatballs to the spaghetti sauce. Toss to coat.
Serve over cooked noodles.