Spaghetti and Meatballs is a classic, kid-friendly dinner with homemade marinara sauce and meatballs topped with parmesan cheese and parsley.
Homemade spaghetti is the perfect delicious family Dinner Recipe for a weeknight. This version is an easy way to make it all on the stovetop. You can also try our Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs or Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs for other cooking methods.
SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS
When it comes to everyday meals, fresh pasta and sauce is a crowd-pleasing comfort food that never seems to get old. This will become one of your all time favorite recipes because it’s easy, but always gets everyone excited for dinner and asking for second helpings. Honestly, you could probably serve Spaghetti with Meatballs multiple times a week and your family still wouldn’t be bored of it!
With this recipe, you can make the family favorite from scratch. Instead of heating up a jarred pasta sauce, make your own marinara with fresh ingredients and flavors that make a huge difference. Instead of frozen meatballs, combine ground beef with a few easy recipe ingredients to make your own Italian meatballs on the stovetop. Then serve it all over pasta and enjoy.
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- Meatballs: The base ingredients for meatballs are the milk-soaked bread and the ground meat. Along with the eggs, the bread acts as the binder in the recipe. Mixing the beef with bread and eggs helps to keep the mixture together into balls of meat. Along with those base ingredients, we also use salt, pepper, onion, and Worcestershire sauce to make smoky and flavorful meatballs.
- Marinara sauce: Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste make up the base of the sauce. Garlic, onion, oregano, basil, sugar, and red pepper all add flavor to the tomato sauce. By covering and simmering the sauce for a full 30 minutes, the flavorful recipe ingredients all blend together for a rich sauce recipe.
- Pasta: The only other component of this recipe is the pasta, of course. All you have to do is cook up some spaghetti noodles to serve under the meatball sauce.
- Homemade marinara sauce: Start by making the fresh tomato sauce. Slice a medium onion in half and dice one side of it. Add olive oil and the onion to a pan. Sauté the onion on medium-low heat until it starts to lightly brown. Then add in the minced garlic cloves and cook for another 15 seconds, so that the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil leaves, salt, sugar, red pepper, and water. Stir the sauce, then cover the pan and continue to cook on low for 30 minutes.
- Homemade meatballs: To make the meatballs recipe, add the milk and bread slices to the bowl of your stand mixer. Leave them so that the milk soaks into the bread. While that’s soaking, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a pan with minced onion. Cook until translucent and not browned. It should take about 5 minutes. Remove the onion from heat and let it cool. Then add the cooked onion, ground beef, eggs, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the stand mixer over the soaked bread. Turn the mixer to low speed to break the bread apart and let it mix with the other ingredients. Using the stand mixer, instead of your hands, helps keep the mixture cold and tender.
- Cook meatballs: Use an ice cream scoop or your hands to form the meat mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Add butter to the skillet and cook the meatballs on all sides until cooked through.
- Cook pasta: After the meatball cooking time, put a large pot of water over medium heat. Add dry spaghetti to the boiling water and cook. Drain pasta, then transfer the cooked pasta into serving bowls.
- Serve: Now that you have cooked spaghetti, sauce, and meatballs, all you have to do is combine them. Spoon sauce and meatballs over spaghetti, then sprinkle on some parsley and parmesan cheese to serve.
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- Seasonings: There are a variety of spices that you could add to the marinara sauce like pepper flakes, onion powder, thyme, or sage.
- Lean meatballs: If you want a slightly lighter dish, you can make the homemade meatballs with lean ground beef, or ground turkey.
- Cheese: Once it’s cooked, you can top the pasta dish off with a variety of cheeses depending on your preference. Mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, or provolone cheese would all taste great. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top while the pasta is still warm so it can melt.
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HOW TO STORE
- Serve: Don’t leave Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: If you have leftovers, let them cool and then transfer them to an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: You can also put the pasta in airtight freezer bags or other freezer-safe containers to store in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat the leftovers, let them thaw in the fridge then reheat in the oven or in a pot on the stovetop.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 slices bread
- 1/2 cup yellow onion , minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
- 2 pounds ground beef , (80/20)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 pound spaghetti , cooked
- 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese , shredded
- 2 tablespoons parsley , minced
To make the Marinara Sauce:
- Add the olive oil and onion to the pan and sauté on medium low until very lightly browned.
- Add the garlic and let cook for 15 seconds or until you can smell the garlic.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer, covered, on low for 30 minutes.
To Make the Meatballs:
- While the Marinara Sauce is simmering, make your meatballs.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer add the milk to the slices of bread.
- Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and add the minced yellow onions.
- Cook them on medium low until translucent but not browned, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- In your bowl with the milk soaked bread add the rest of the meatball ingredients including the cooked onions.
- Mix it on low until the bread is broken apart and the meat is combined with the ingredients (using the stand mixer and not your hands helps keep the mixture cold and tender).
- Using a meatballer/ice cream scoop or your hands scoop them into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, about 1 1/2" inches.
- Add the rest of your butter to your skillet and cook on medium high on all sides for a total of 4-5 minutes.
- Add the spaghetti to the pot and stir well to combine and heat through.
- Serve in bowls topped with parsley and Parmesan cheese.