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Best Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe for the Classic Italian Style Comfort Food Favourite

Our best spaghetti and meatballs recipe makes an incredibly delicious version of the much-loved comfort food classic with juicy meatballs and a rich tomato sauce made from scratch. The spaghetti is combined with the sauce before serving, in true Italian style, and topped with the meatballs, plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil. Serve the second it’s ready with crustybread.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dinner, First Course, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian, Italian-American, Italian-Australian, Southern Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 4186kcal
Author: Lara Dunston


Tomato Sauce

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves peeled and lightly pounded in a mortar and pestle
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 large whole onion peeled, finely diced
  • 2 400 g cans crushed tomatoes best quality you can source
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar optional


  • 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 250 g onion finely diced
  • 40 g white bread crusts removed
  • 4 tbsp whole milk
  • 400 g ground fatty pork
  • 250 g ground beef
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 60 g ricotta cheese – or another white cheese
  • 20 g grated parmesan cheese
  • 20 g grated pecorino cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley or celery leaves finely chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp ground paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder


  • 1 tsp salt
  • 220 g spaghetti


  • 4 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves roughly chopped or torn


  • First, make our rich Italian tomato sauce recipe: to a large frying pan or skillet, over medium-high heat, add the extra virgin olive oil and heat, then add the garlic cloves and fry for a minute or so until fragrant, then add the chilli flakes, stirring well with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine.
  • When the garlic cloves start to brown and sizzle and splutter, remove the cloves and set them aside but do not discard. Immediately add the finely diced onions to the pan and fry, stirring only occasionally so the onions don’t burn and adjusting the heat as necessary, until they’re soft, almost translucent and aromatic.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sea salt, and stir to combine well. If you’re a garlic lover, return the garlic cloves to the sauce now; if you’re not, leave them out. Turn the heat to high so the sauce is bubbling. It will reduce fairly quickly on high heat, so stir the sauce occasionally.
  • When the tomato sauce is thick and luscious, turn the heat to low, taste, and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if needed; if it’s a little acidic, add some sugar. Leave to simmer while you make the meatballs.
  • Next, prepare the meatballs: in a fry pan or round flat-bottomed wok, heat the olive oil and fry the diced onion until soft and translucent, then transfer to a dish and refrigerate to cool to room temperature.
  • In a large mixing bowl, soak the white bread in whole milk, then add the ground fatty pork and ground beef, whisked egg, ricotta, parmesan and pecorino cheeses, fried onion, chopped flat leaf parsley or celery leaves, and seasonings, and combine with your hands.
  • Using a tablespoon and kitchen scales, scoop out 40 g of the ground meat mixture and roll it a few times between your two hands to form a meat ball. Don’t over-roll as you want the mixture loose to produce a more rustic meatball rather than a tight ball. Transfer it to a tray and repeat until you’ve used up all the mixture, then refrigerate until ready to fry.
  • To another large frying pan/skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat until hot, then, using long tongs, transfer enough meatballs to fill the pan without touching. Fry the meatballs until they’re brown, using the tongs to rotate so that they’re evenly coloured, then transfer to the pan in which the tomato sauce is simmering. Repeat until all meatballs are fried and are simmering in the tomato sauce.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, add a teaspoon of salt, then add the spaghetti to the boiling salted water and cook for as long as the packet instructions direct until al dente.
  • Reserve a metric cup of cooking water before draining the spaghetti into a colander.
  • Return half a cup of the cooking water to the pot, then the spaghetti, then use a ladle or large serving spoon to transfer four scoops of tomato sauce to the pot and combine well, adding a little more cooking water if needed.
  • Distribute the spaghetti between the bowls, along with the tomato sauce and meatballs, sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil leaves onto the meatballs, and serve immediately with crusty bread.


Calories: 4186kcal | Carbohydrates: 282g | Protein: 191g | Fat: 256g | Saturated Fat: 81g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g | Monounsaturated Fat: 131g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 719mg | Sodium: 14096mg | Potassium: 4929mg | Fiber: 27g | Sugar: 57g | Vitamin A: 5555IU | Vitamin C: 91mg | Calcium: 1394mg | Iron: 24mg