Spaghetti & Meatballs is comfort food at its best. Perfect pasta with a tomatoey-rich sauce piled high with homemade meatballs all twirled together with a fork make this a perfect bite not to be missed.
A Comfort Food Favorite
When I was a young girl, whenever my family went out to dinner, I always ordered spaghetti & meatballs. There is just something about twirling the pasta around the fork and then slurping up the noodles. Spaghetti & meatballs is pure comfort food. We have it almost every week in our house and yet it is still a favorite special enough for birthday dinners or company. Not to mention, it is a great meal to prepare with children. They love to roll the meatballs.
Making the Meatballs
The key to an authentic meatball is the bread. Personally, I love to use the end pieces of leftover sourdough bread that I save in the freezer until I have enough to process into fresh breadcrumbs. Additionally, I add lemon zest or my favorite Preserved lemons to give it a fresh and lively kick. Everyone comments on my meatballs, a recipe I share often with friends and family.
But the best part about homemade meatballs is that I always have helpers to roll out the meatballs while I prepare the sauce. Because spaghetti & meatballs is a family favorite, all hands are on deck to prepare dinner. The finished product is happily slurped up by all. Bonus…this recipe makes a lot of meatballs so your time invested will make several meals. These meatballs are great with the marinara or even made into a yummy beef stroganoff.
- 1 cup sourdough breadcrumbs (4 pieces sourdough bread, processed in the food processor)
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 pound ground free-range pork
- 1 pound organic, grass-fed ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped finely
- 1 T chopped fresh garlic, about 4 cloves **
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 Preserved Lemon rind, minced or zest of 1 organic lemon
- 2 large organic eggs
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 T olive oil for drizzling over meatballs before roasting
- Preheat oven to 400° F
- Process sourdough bread in the food processor if not already in crumbs *
- Combine bread crumbs and milk in a bowl.
- Add beef, pork, onions, garlic, preserved lemon or zest, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and eggs to the bread mixture and combine well. I like to massage mixture together with my hands.
- Form into 1 & 1/2" balls and place in a large casserole dish.
- Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden
- Serve with Red Hot Tomato Sauce and spaghetti noodles
*If I have ends or pieces of sourdough bread leftover, I throw them into a bag in the freezer. When I have collected several pieces, I process them all in the food processor until finely ground. I keep a bag of bread crumbs in the freezer always for convenience.
**I keep a jar of prepared chopped garlic in my refrigerator so I have it ready to spoon into all my recipes. I purchase a large package of peeled garlic at Costco, chop it up in my food processor, fill several wide mouth pint jars, and add olive oil to preserve. It lasts for weeks in the refrigerator as long as the garlic is covered by the olive oil. I always have extra to share with friends. Such a time-saver and the flavor is AMAZING compared to the storebought jars of prepared chopped garlic.
Simmering the Sauce
This marinara sauce has been my go-to sauce for over twenty years. Not only is it quick and easy, but the flavor is amazing paired with meatballs, over chicken or zucchini parmigiana, used as a pizza sauce, or simply spooned over pasta all by its onesie, savvy? I love to simmer the onions and garlic in red wine and red pepper flakes to add a depth of flavor that truly doesn’t take a lot of time.
My favorite tomatoes are Jovial crushed tomatoes that I get in bulk from Azure Standard but you can use any of your own favorite tomatoes. I just prefer Jovial because they don’t add salt (so I can add my own) and they are just bursting with vine-ripened tomato flavor. Besides my Summer’s Best Bruchetta, this marinara sauce is what I grow my fresh basil for. Each ingredient speaks in this sauce and the flavors simmered all together make a humm’n good meal.
- 6 T olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)*
- 3- 18.3 oz jars Jovial crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 cup red wine
- salt & pepper to taste (Jovial tomatoes are unsalted so I add about 2 tsp and adjust if necessary).
- 1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 & 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil, torn
Saute onions in olive oil over medium heat until slightly caramelized and fragrant.
Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and saute a minute more.
Add wine and cook down until the liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes).
Turn down the heat to medium-low and add in the jars of tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste.
Simmer for 30 minutes- 1 hour uncovered until flavors have mingled.
Stir in the basil and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Using an immersion hand blender, blend until you have reached the texture you like.
At this point, you can add meatballs and/or Italian sausage links cut in half, or use it as a marinara sauce.
*I keep a jar of prepared chopped garlic in my refrigerator so I have it ready to spoon into all my recipes. I purchase a large package of peeled garlic at Costco, chop it up in my food processor, fill several wide mouth pint jars, and add olive oil to preserve. It lasts for weeks in the refrigerator as long as the garlic is covered by the olive oil. I always have extra to share with friends. Such a time-saver and the flavor is AMAZING compared to the storebought jars of prepared chopped garlic.