Beef Recipes/ Pasta/ Vegetarian Recipes

Spaghetti and Meatballs

A hearty homemade spaghetti sauce low simmered on the stove top with exceptional Italian flavor. An easy pasta sauce recipe made with a variety of tomato ingredients and herbs. Paired with the BEST homemade meatballs then served with spaghetti sauce and pasta. You’ll want to make this Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe weekly for dinner.

Spaghetti is a classic Italian comfort food dish best served with homemade Italian meatballs or in a hearty meat sauce. Add a fresh green salad, oven-roasted asparagus, garlic bread, and a glass of red wine and you’ll have a crave-worthy home cooked meal to be proud of.

Italian Spaghetti Sauce - Spaghetti served in a double stacked pottery bowl on a wooden cutting board with a blue and white napkin and meatballs in background. Bowl features pasta noodles on bottom with sauce on top. Garnished with chopped parsley, and shredded parmesan cheese.

You’ll want this traditional red gravy spaghetti and meatballs recipe that has been perfected over the years. It’s one of our family’s favorite dinner recipes that I like to cook on a Sunday afternoon.

Using a variety of canned tomato ingredients and pairing it with pantry staple herbs and seasoning then simmering it on the stove to deeply condense the flavor gives my recipe a fine dining Italian restaurant quality taste you’ll crave time and time again.

Making spaghetti sauce from scratch is not difficult. You don’t need to source the freshest tomatoes, boil, peel, and crush them in order to achieve a blue ribbon worthy sauce. In fact, once you try it, you’ll never go back to picking up generic pasta sauce from the grocery store again.

Spaghetti Sauce - A bowl of spaghetti pasta with a few scoops of red sauce on top with chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Served on a wooden tray with a white and blue napkin, meatballs in background, and a spoon and fork in bowl.

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch

  1. Saute onion and garlic until translucent.
  2. Mix in tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes.
  3. Stir in oregano, salt, pepper, and basil.
  4. Whisk in water.
  5. Simmer on low heat for 1½ to 2½ hours.
  6. Serve with spaghetti noodles.
Spaghetti - A bowl of spaghetti noodles, tomato sauce, and meatballs served on a marble backdrop with a fork in bowl and garlic bread.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE ITALIAN MEATBALLS

  1. To make the meatballs, whisk together diced onions, garlic, parsley, basil, pepper, salt, paprika, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, and eggs.
  2. Add ground beef and mix until combined.
  3. Roll 1½ tbsp ground beef into a ball and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Bake in 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes.

TIP – Spaghetti may be served with meatballs or a meat sauce. I have included instructions to make both versions in the recipe card.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe - A bowl of spaghetti with red sauce, parsley, and grated parmesan cheese. A spoon and fork in bowl with meatballs in background. Text in center in blue box reads spaghetti sauce. Second image shows spaghetti served in a pottery bowl with red tomato sauce on top. Topped with fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Served on a wooden tray with a black and white napkin.

Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients

  • TOMATO SAUCE: The base to making the sauce. Canned tomatoes work great in this recipe. I buy tomato sauce without any extra seasonings added to it.
  • TOMATO PASTE: A must to any homemade tomato sauce recipe. The concentrated flavor in tomato paste is a key ingredient to making a deliciously rich and thick sauce.
  • DICED TOMATOES: Gives the sauce a hearty and chunky texture and fresh tomato taste.
  • CRUSHED TOMATOES: Adds more texture to the sauce without it being too chunky with tomatoes.
  • SEASONING: Saute freshly diced onions and minced garlic in oil. Next, stir in tomato ingredients and add oregano, salt, pepper, basil, and a little sugar to cut down the acidity of the tomatoes.
Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs - A pottery bowl filled with spaghetti pasta noodles in a red tomato sauce with 8 meatballs. Garnished with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese on top. Served on a wooden board with a slice of garlic bread and a fork in bowl.

Homemade Meatball Ingredients

  • GROUND BEEF: To make spaghetti meat sauce, brown the meat first then drain it and cook it in the pot along with the sauce. To make meatballs, use ground beef or a combination of pork and beef.
  • MEATBALL SEASONING: Parsley, basil, pepper, salt, paprika, red pepper flakes for added spice, and a splash of soy sauce. The BEST ever combination of pantry spices to make restaurant style meatballs the whole family will love.
  • EGGS: The eggs in the meatballs help to bind the ingredients together.
  • CHEESE: I like to use grated parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
Spaghetti and Meatballs - Spaghetti pasta served in a pottery bowl with red tomato sauce on top. Garnished with chopped fresh parsley and shredded parmesan cheese. Served on a wooden tray with a black and white napkin. Text in center in blue box reads spaghetti sauce ( restaurant-style recipe). Second image shows a bowl of spaghetti noodles with red sauce, parsley, and grated parmesan cheese. A spoon and fork in bowl with meatballs in background.

Spaghetti Sauce Questions and Tips

Can I add ground beef to make a meat sauce? Yes. Brown the ground beef and drain excess oil. Next, saute onions and garlic until translucent. Stir in the tomato based ingredients and add the cooked meat to the sauce along with the seasonings.

Can I freeze the sauce? Yes. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator before heating.

The sauce keeps splattering. How can I fix this? Make sure it’s on a low simmer. If that doesn’t fix it, add more water or slowly twirl a spoon to the bottom and slowly bring it back up. This allows air bubbles to escape without any extra mess.

Want to make this dish healthier? Swap pasta noodles out with roasted spaghetti squash.

THE PERFECT PARTY APPETIZER: If you’re looking for a new appetizer to serve at your next holiday party or event, serve meatballs with a toothpick and a mini glass filled with 1-2 tbsp of spaghetti sauce.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

A hearty homemade spaghetti sauce low simmered on the stove top with exceptional Italian flavor. An easy pasta sauce recipe made with a variety of tomato ingredients and herbs. Paired with the BEST homemade meatballs then served with spaghetti sauce and pasta. You'll want to make this Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe weekly for dinner.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: spaghetti and meatballs, spaghetti meat sauce, Spaghetti sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 755kcal

Ingredients

Spaghetti Sauce

  • ½ small white onion (diced)
  • 5 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 29 oz tomato sauce
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 30 oz diced tomatoes
  • 29 oz crushed tomatoes
  • cups water
  • tsp dried oregano leaves
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • lb spaghetti

Meatballs

  • 3 lb ground beef (to make a meat sauce, see notes)
  • 1 white onion (diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • ½ tbsp basil
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  • Saute onion until translucent and fragrant; about 4-5 minutes
  • Cook garlic; 1 minute.
  • NOTE: If making a meat sauce instead of meatballs, brown and drain 2 lb ground beef then simmer it in the sauce.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes.
  • Whisk in water, oregano, salt, pepper, and basil.
  • Simmer on low heat for 1½ to 2½ hours.
    TIP: To prevent splattering add more water or slowly twirl a spoon to the bottom and slowly bring it back up. This allows air bubbles to escape without any extra mess.
  • To make meatballs, whisk together onions, garlic, parsley, basil, pepper, salt, paprika, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, and eggs.
  • Add ground beef and mix until combined.
  • Roll 1½ tbsp ground beef into a ball and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Bake in 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes. Meatballs may be blotted with paper towel if needed.
  • Serve with

Notes

MEAT SAUCE: to make spaghetti meat sauce, use 2 lb ground beef. Brown and drain cooked beef. Simmer it in pot with sauce.

Nutrition

Calories:755kcal | Carbohydrates:80g | Protein:41g | Fat:31g | Saturated Fat:12g | Trans Fat:2g | Cholesterol:136mg | Sodium:1319mg | Potassium:1646mg | Fiber:9g | Sugar:18g | Vitamin A:1341IU | Vitamin C:31mg | Calcium:202mg | Iron:9mg

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