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Hearty Spaghetti and Meatballs

Hearty Spaghetti and Meatballs

Made with crumbled bread and simmered in a rich tomato sauce, the meatballs in this dish are notably tender and flavorful - delicious served with pasta or as a hearty sandwich filling. The recipe makes a generous quantity, so you'll have enough to freeze for another meal.



  • 1 cup crumbled bread, preferably Italian
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 4 leaves fresh basil, torn into bits
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti


  1. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the water. Then gently squeeze the bread and discard the excess water.
  2. Transfer the moistened bread to a large bowl. Add the ground beef, egg, cheese, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it is well combined, then shape it into 2-inch balls.
  3. In a large, deep saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in batches, turning them with tongs, until they are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Set them aside (they will finish cooking in the sauce).
  4. To make the sauce, add the onion to the same pan and cook it until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and basil, and salt to taste. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then cook it over low heat for 15 minutes. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and puree it for 15 seconds. Add the puree back to the pan.
  6. Add the meatballs to the pan and let them simmer in the sauce, turning them occasionally, until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  7. Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the spaghetti and stir well. Let it cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is tender but still firm. Drain the spaghetti well.
  8. Spoon some of the sauce into a large warmed serving bowl, add the spaghetti, and toss well. This will keep it from sticking together. Serve the spaghetti topped with the meatballs and additional sauce. Sprinkle on freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, if desired. Serves 8.