Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

Easy and delicious recipe that is sure to impress! Tender and flavorful meatballs simmered in homemade marinara sauce that is so much better than anything from a jar. Serve over a bed of spaghetti and sprinkle with lots of parmesan cheese! Perfect for a busy weeknight or a fancy dinner.

Everyone should have a go-to spaghetti and meatballs recipe, and this is mine! Yes, buying a jar of spaghetti sauce may be easier, but homemade sauce is so delicious! And honestly, the sauce is actually pretty quick and easy to make, and uses a lot of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs Ingredients

Ground beef. This recipe calls for 1 pound ground beef, but you could also use a mix of ground beef, pork and/or Italian sausage.

Egg. One large egg is mixed into the meatballs to bind the meat with the other meatball ingredients so they hold together while cooking.

Bead crumbs. I like to use Italian bread crumbs for my meatballs, but you can also use regular bread crumbs.

Onion. Onion adds so much flavor to both the meatballs and the marinara sauce, so even if you aren’t an onion person, do NOT leave out the onion.

Garlic. Garlic is another flavor powerhouse in this recipe. It’s used in both the meatballs and the marinara.

Fresh parsley & basil. Fresh herbs are a game changer when it comes to homemade sauce; they pack a lot of flavor. I recommend using fresh herbs as the recipe calls for, but you can substitute dried herbs if you’re in a pinch. Replace 1/4 cup of fresh herbs with 1 tablespoon of dried herbs.

Parmesan. Grated parmesan is used in both the meatballs and the sauce. Store-bought grated parmesan adds flavor without getting melty and stringy.

Crushed tomatoes. This gives the sauce the perfect consistency and flavor. I don’t recommend substituting anything else.

Tomato paste. Adds extra tomato flavor and helps to thicken the sauce.

Worcestershire. Also in both the meatballs and the sauce. I like to use Worcestershire when making a variety of sauces; it adds a savory tang.

Sugar. You can find sugar in store-bought spaghetti and marinara sauce, as well. Sugar helps to balance out the acidity in the tomatoes.

Beef broth. Instead of using water to thin out the sauce, I prefer to use beef broth to add another level of flavor. You can substitute in chicken broth or vegetable broth, but I prefer the flavor of beef broth.

Red pepper flakes. I like to add just a small amount of red pepper flakes to give the sauce a little bite, but you can skip it if you’re sensitive to spice.

Salt & pepper. You can’t cook without it. The sauce calls for a good amount of salt because the tomatoes crave it.

Tips & Substitutions.

Grate the onion for the meatballs. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate half an onion, and you’ll be left with finely minced onion that is perfect for meatballs. Often times, I see people add raw chopped onion to their meatball mixture, and the onion never fully cooks through, leaving you with large raw chunks of onion in the meatballs. As well, the meatballs won’t hold together as nicely with chunks of onion. Not ideal.

Can you bake the meatballs? If you prefer, you can bake the meatballs instead of frying them. To do so, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until cooked through. Once done, transfer the meatballs to the sauce and serve.

Meat. This recipe calls for 1 pound ground beef, but you could also use a mix of ground beef, pork and/or Italian sausage.

Bread crumbs. Instead of Italian bread crumbs, you can substitute a 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs or 1 cup of diced white bread.

Herbs. I prefer to use fresh herbs, but if you’re in a pinch, you can use dried herbs. Instead of 1/4 cup of fresh herbs, substitute 1 tablespoon of dried herbs.

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

Easy and delicious recipe that is sure to impress! Tender and flavorful meatballs simmered in homemade marinara sauce that is so much better than anything from a jar. Serve over a bed of spaghetti and sprinkle with lots of parmesan cheese! Perfect for a busy weeknight or a fancy dinner.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dinner
Servings 5 servings

Ingredients
  

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for frying

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For serving

  • pasta
  • grated parmesan
  • fresh chopped parsley

Instructions
 

Meatballs

  • Using the large holes on a standard box grater, grate half of an onion. Transfer the grated onion and juices to a large bowl.
  • Add the remaining meatball ingredients, except for the olive oil, to the large bowl with grated onion. Mix well until combined.
  • Roll meat mixture into 2-3 tablespoon size balls.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until browned, turning a few times, about 5-7 minutes. Add more olive oil if needed. Do NOT cook the meatballs all the through; they will cook more in the sauce. Once browned, transfer to a plate.

Sauce & pasta

  • Before starting the sauce, put a large pot of water on stove over high heat to cook your pasta.
  • To the same large skillet that you cooked the meatballs, add the olive oil and chopped onion, and cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  • Add the remaining sauce ingredients and whisk to combine. Turn the heat down to medium-low so the sauce can simmer.
  • Transfer the meatballs to the sauce and cover. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • While the meatballs simmer, add pasta to the boiling water.
  • Serve the meatballs and sauce over pasta with parmesan and fresh parsley, if desired.
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to hear from you! Rate the recipe and leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and tag @ModernFarmhouseEats

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