Spaghetti has always been on our family’s short-list for weekly menu planning, but I recently started making Spaghetti and Meatballs from scratch and they’ve been outstanding! My kids ask for this dish on a regular basis. In the past I had just made a homemade meat sauce because I didn’t want to go to the trouble of making meatballs. But as it turns out, it’s really not all that hard and the meatballs make for a fun and hearty meal. I love the punch of flavor when you bite into one of these meatballs – they’re awesome, y’all! Instead of browning them in a skillet, I just bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes, then drop them into the sauce to simmer and finish cooking. This process is much less messy and time consuming, and gives additional flavor to the sauce.
Some folks make authentic Italian sauce or “gravy”, which can take hours to carefully flavor and simmer – and it’s fantastic, but for this recipe I chose to use my Raw Marinara Sauce for a bright fresh flavor and to speed up the process. It’s a super easy sauce made in the blender. For this recipe, I dump it into a large saucepan and simmer it on low and then add the baked meatballs and simmer them together for a wonderful tangy sauce! Add this recipe to your weeknight menu and you won’t be sorry…I promise!
Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 2 pounds ground beef used: ground chuck 80/20
- 2 pounds ground pork sausage used: mild breakfast sausage
- 4 eggs
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
- 1/4 chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 sleeve saltine crackers finely crushed
- 1/2 cup milk
- Raw Marinara Sauce:
- 2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves loosely packed
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano stripped of leaves (use leaves only)
- 1 clove garlic
- 10 oil packed sun dried tomato halves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice about 1 small lemon
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds dry spaghetti
- For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients.
- Mix by hand to thoroughly combine all ingredients, but do not overwork or the meatballs will become tough.
- Portion meat into golf ball size meatballs (I use 2 cookie scoopfuls).
- Roll into balls and place on a greased foil-lined baking sheet.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bake meatballs, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In the jar of a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth.
- Pour sauce into a large, deep saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Remove meatballs from oven and carefully place them in the sauce and continue to simmer meatballs and sauce for an additional 10 minutes, gently stirring occasionally.
- For the pasta: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until "al dente", about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Assemble: Place about 1/4 cup of sauce onto each serving plate, then a portion of cooked spaghetti, then 3 to 4 meatballs with additional sauce. Top with extra parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
You can substitute Italian sausage for breakfast sausage.
You can also substitute 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley if you don't have basil and chives.
Meatballs can be formed the day before; cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. *I prefer to make my meatballs at least an hour before I'm ready to cook to allow the flavors to marry, it's even better done the day before.