Simple, Delicious Spaghetti + Meatballs {my favorite recipe!}

by Amy on 23 October 2012

has anyone ever asked you, ‘what’s your all-time favorite meal?’ i get that question frequently, + honestly, it isn’t too hard for me to answer. there are lots of meals i adore, but there isn’t a single one that i crave + love more than simple, traditional, delicious spaghetti + meatballs. meatballs + i have a long history together: a super picky eater as a child, my mom’s homemade meatballs were one of the few things that i would always happily eat. and even in my 7 years as a vegetarian, i didn’t abandon my meatball love – i simply substituted soy/meatless versions, which i still like today.

i’ve tried + enjoyed many different meatball recipes – beef, pork, chicken, turkey, + veggie versions – but this one is hands-down my favorite. the jumbo, flavorful beef meatballs start by cooking in the oven, which gives them a lovely caramelization, + finish in simmering pasta sauce, which keeps them super tender + moist. an extra perk? they freeze wonderfully! when i make them, i double or triple the recipe, freezing a bunch for quick, scrumptious future meals. so, if you’re looking for what could be your new favorite spaghetti + meatball recipe, look no further – this one is fantastic!

simple, delicious spaghetti + meatballs {my favorite recipe}

makes 14 meatballs, adapted from martha stewart


olive oil or nonstick cooking spray
1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 cups finely grated pecorino romano cheese
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 small onion, grated
3 tablespoons minced garlic
coarse salt

1 pound pasta (i use spaghetti, angel hair, linguine or fettuccine)
about 50 oz. pasta sauce: either 2 store-bought jars or homemade (i always use this simple pasta sauce recipe)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, for serving


preheat oven to 350 degrees. lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

in a large bowl, mix together beef, cheese, 1 cup breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, herbs, onion, + garlic; season with salt. if mixture seems too loose, mix in remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs as necessary.

roll meat mixture into 2 1/2-ounce balls; transfer to prepared baking sheet. transfer to oven + bake until beef is cooked through + lightly browned, 25-30 minutes.

meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. generously salt water + return to a boil. add pasta + cook until al dente, according to package directions; drain.

heat sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat. transfer meatballs to sauce + cook for at least 15 minutes in sauce.

transfer meatballs + 1 cup of sauce to a bowl + set aside. remove remaining sauce from heat. stir in basil + add drained pasta; toss to combine. transfer pasta to a large serving platter; top with meatballs + reserved sauce. serve immediately, sprinkled with extra cheese, if desired.

print this recipe print this recipe
EmailTwitterFacebookStumbleUponGoogle BookmarksShare

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 danielle October 23, 2012 at 7:18 am

This is my Little Mans favorite meal – and really – who doesnt love spaghetti and meatballs.

2 amy October 23, 2012 at 7:20 am

Your Little Dude has great taste! Bet he gets that from his mama. =)

3 Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray October 23, 2012 at 7:21 am

Totally one of my favorite comfort meals too. And nothing beats my mama’s meatballs! :)

4 Kathryn October 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

I’m another one who leaves spaghetti and meatballs. Definitely bookmarking this to make next time I need a big bowl of comfort food.

5 Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie October 23, 2012 at 9:12 am

There really is something special about meatballs

6 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef October 23, 2012 at 9:17 am

mmm, spaghetti & meatballs are CLASSIC. who wouldn’t love this meal?!?

7 alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] October 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

yes, please! I have a life-long goal of recreating + mastering my mom’s meat-filled pasta sauce. Easier said than done as she doesn’t have a recipe written down and kind of tweaks it a little each time she makes it. And each time she makes it it’s so freaking good. She’ll usually ask us [J + I] what we want for dinner on our first night visiting home, despite me always having the same answer. Pasta, please! :)

8 amy October 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

don’t moms make the best italian dishes?! if you ever need a taste-tester to try your recreation of your mom’s sauce, i know a friendly, hungry little blogger named Amy who lives only a stone’s throw away… =)

9 Ashley@BakerbyNature October 23, 2012 at 10:24 am

I am dreaming of a giant bowl of skettie and meatballs right now… and it’s only 11:24 am!

This looks fabulous!

10 amy October 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

11:24 AM is the perfect time to dream of sketti + meatballs!

11 Beth October 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

Your meatballs look terrific. You’ve got me thinking about making some tonight!

12 Steph@TheChickpeaChickadee October 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

Looks fabulous! I’m definitely pinning this recipe:) Great presentation, btw.

13 Jackie @ The Beeroness October 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I’m all about perfecting the simple dishes. A really well done spaghetti is a thing of beauty.

14 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious October 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm

It’s definitely hard to choose one all-time favorite meal but I’m sure this dish reigns in the top 5! Nothing beats this type of comfort dish!

15 natalie@thesweetslife October 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm

these sound perfect–one of my favorite comfort foods!

16 Erin @ Texanerin Baking October 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Pretty pictures! :) I’ve never really liked meatballs all that much. They always seemed like mini meatloaves. I guess I need to try again, being as this is your favorite and all. :)

17 amy October 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Thanks, chica! I must confess that I love meatloaf, too – i pretty much like any ground meat made into ball/loaf/patty form. =)

18 Angela @ AnotherBitePlease October 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Your recipe looks so good…I made some turkey moz meatballs yummy…my hubby will love these ground beef ones! I also can’t wait to make your sauce!

19 angela@spinachtiger October 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Looking good Amy. A meal that has to be universally loved. Similar to my way, only I use white bread and soak it in milk, which is another alternative, but you have all the right ingredients there and the picture make me want this comfort Italian food.

20 amy October 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

knowing your italian history, I bet you make some AMAZING meatballs! i’m always around if you ever need a taste tester. =)

21 Cassie | Bake Your Day October 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I love meatballs! A perfect italian meal!

22 Jessica@AKitchenAddiction October 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm

There’s something so perfect about a good meal of spaghetti and meatballs!

23 kristen @ notsodomesticated October 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Any recipe I’ve ever made of Martha’s has turned out delicious. And I love that the recipe requires minimal ingredients, yet likely packs so much flavor! Yum!

24 amy October 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

ditto – i always have a ton of success with martha stewart’s recipes!

25 Julie @ Table for Two October 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm

what a great comfort dish and such a classic, too! i LOVE spaghetti and meatballs – i could probably say the same thing as you if someone asked me what my favorite dish is. something about the classics always bring back so many memories! your dish looks amazing and so good!

26 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl October 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Spaghetti and homemade meatballs is one of our fave meals here, too (it satifies even picky 5-year olds, ha!). I’m with you–I usually at least double the recipe so I have some on hand for busy nights. This recipe sounds fab–can’t go wrong with a Martha recipe!

27 Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen October 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Spaghetti & meatballs is one of my all-time favorite meals! I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect recipe and I will definitely be making this!

28 sally @ sallys baking addiction October 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I’m always asked “whats your favorite dessert?” OMG I have no clue! I don’t think I could pick. One day it’s apple upside down cake, the next day it’s an oatmeal scotchie cookie. Then mint chip fudge. I am overwhelmed! But a CLASSIC like this stands the test of time. My mom’s legendary homemade mac and cheese – will ALWAYS be a favorite of mine. :)

29 amy October 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm

for whatever reason, it’s easier for me to pick my favorite savory foods than it is my favorite sweets. sweets-wise, my preferences seem to change every day!

30 Choc Chip Uru October 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm

What an insanely delicious meal my friend love it :)

Choc Chip Uru

31 Nicole @ Lapetitebaker October 24, 2012 at 2:14 am

I stand by the classics and this one looks mouth watering. I love how you can make an extra batch and freeze the meatballs for a quick dinner at another time. My favorite kind of recipe.

32 Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel October 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

If I have meatball dreams tonight, I’m blaming you.

Seriously. Meatball heaven on a plate. They look perfect!

33 baker street October 24, 2012 at 10:32 am

Spaghetti + Meatballs is comfort food for us! Your recipe sounds incredible and I can’t wait to give it a try :)

34 Anna @ Hidden Ponies October 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

Funny, spaghetti and meatballs is my favourite meal too! If we ever meet, I know what we can eat :) Your version looks perfect and classic!

35 amy October 24, 2012 at 10:51 am

I’d love to meet up in person someday + share a big ol’ dinner of spaghetti + meatballs together!

36 Kiran @ October 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

I recently had a taste of spaghetti and meatballs (chicken, of course!) and it was so delicious!!!

37 amy October 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

i actually love chicken meatballs, too! they’re a great alternative for people who don’t like red meat + still wonderfully delicious!

38 kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts October 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Yum! I could go for spaghetti and meatballs right now. Thanks for a great recipe.

39 Jed Gray (sportsglutton) October 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Not a bad dish to have as your all-time favorite. Simple honest goodness and makes one happy…I know it does for me. 😉

40 ea-the spicy rd October 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm

It’s hard to imagine you as a picky eater as a kid. My family and I love meatballs and your version looks delicious! The stroganoff was a big hit last night BTW :-)

41 Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen October 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I think that my husband would eat spaghetti and meatballs every night of the week if I would let him! This looks like a great recipe and I will have to try it out!

42 Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings October 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Every family needs a classic recipe like this! If it’s from Martha, it must be good! I trust her, and I trust your palate, too!

43 luv what you do October 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Yummy! My tummy is grumbling right now. I wish this was my dinner!

44 Megan {Country Cleaver} October 24, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Spaghetti and meatballs is the ultimate of comfort foods. Fantastic!!

45 The Squishy Monster October 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I guess I know what I’m having for dinner tonight! =)

46 Tracey October 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Add a side of garlic bread and this is seriously one of the best comfort food meal ever. Looks awesome Amy! :)

47 Amy (Savory Moments) October 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Delicious! I’m not even remotely Italian, but have always LOVED spaghetti and meatballs! Your version looks wonderful.

48 Blond Duck October 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

You read my mind. I was making this Saturday!

49 Mackenzie {susiefreakinghomemaker} October 29, 2012 at 8:40 am

I love this!! I love that you are actually declaring it your favorite and of all things it’s spagetti and meatballs! That makes me really happy!!

50 AllieBeau November 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

This looks so delicious. Your photos are stunning!

{ 1 trackback }

leave a comment

Previous post:

Next post: