No one can resist this classic dish. It’s pure comfort food. It’s probably safe to say that every household in America has a favorite spaghetti and meatball recipe; the “go-to” dinner recipe that saves the day when the kids are hungry and all you’ve got in the frig is some ground meat with pasta and spaghetti sauce in the pantry! My house was no exception. With kids running left and right for sports practices on top of my busy schedule, this recipe appeared at least once a week. I made this over and over. Ok, I admit that I didn’t always take the time to make the meatballs and oversimplified with just browned ground meat and/or turkey sausage in the sauce (ok, that’s super-fast and not super-creative but a mom has to do what she has to do). Today, however, I’ve got a hankering for the meatball, so here it is.
Making meatballs requires some patience, but I’m grateful for my food processor that grinds up the onions, garlic and parsley for me. I use my hands to mix it all together so as to avoid over mixing the meat which makes it less tender. I soak the breadcrumbs in milk and add an egg to add more tenderness. Also cooking them in the spaghetti sauce helps them stay nice and soft and adds more flavor to the sauce itself. This meatball recipe is simple, but if you’re looking for a few more ingredients, go to my Amazing Italian Meatballs with Tangy BBQ Sauce for another treat.
I serve this over whole grain spaghetti to add more fiber and nutritional value. (I like Barilla whole grain variety in the yellow box). Add a fresh green salad and maybe some fresh whole wheat french bread for the perfect classic dinner meal! Bon Appetit!
- Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound extra-lean ground meat such as beef, pork, turkey, chicken or a mix
- 1/2 pound Italian-seasoned turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (I like Classico Traditional Sweet Basil or Trader Joe's Marinara)
- 1 (14-ounce) can Italian-seasoned ready-cut stewed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound whole grain spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
- Shaved Parmesan cheese
- For the Meatballs: Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside while preparing the rest of the meatball mix. The breadcrumbs will absorb the milk and become soggy.
- Whisk the egg, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese in a medium bowl. Add the meat and sausage. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the egg into the ground meat.
- Add the onions, garlic, parsley and the soaked breadcrumbs to the meat. Mix them thoroughly into the meat with your fingers. Try not to overwork the meat; pinch the meat between your fingers rather than knead it.
- Gently roll a small piece of meat between your hands to form 2-inch diameter meatballs. Continue shaping until all the meat is used.
- For the Sauce: Combine spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes, basil, oregano and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to combine.
- Heat oil in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and brown on all sides. Add spaghetti sauce mixture and bring to a simmer, gently rolling each meatball in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The meatballs are done when they're cooked through and register 165°F in the middle on a meat thermometer.
- Serve over cooked pasta and top with shaved Parmesan cheese.