Shortcut Spaghetti & Meatballs

My Italian ancestors are probably rolling over in their graves after this post. Of all the delicious Italian dishes to make, I choose spaghetti & meatballs? Is that even Italian? Probably not, but this Italian-American is proud of her love of spaghetti & meatballs.


This spaghetti & meatballs recipe makes for the classic, hearty Sunday night dinner. Serve alongside some garlic bread (you can make your own, but the overly buttered store-bought kind really takes the cake) and you’ll be transported back to mom’s take on “Italian” for dinner.

This recipe is extremely basic and simple – no need to make your own breadcrumbs or buy three different types of meat – so it would be great to throw together any night in just about 30 minutes. I’ve been eating my Ga-ga’s meatballs (made with her own breadcrumbs and a mix of beef/veal/pork) since I was a baby, and while hers are delicious, these are a close runner up.


Shortcut Spaghetti & Meatballs

serves 4-6


1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 lb lean ground beef

1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 lb spaghetti

1. In a large bowl, mix cheese, parsley, garlic, egg, salt and pepper. Add beef and breadcrumbs. Gently mix with your hands and form into 14-16 one-inch balls.

2. In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add meatballs, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Once the meatballs are browned, add the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer 10-12 minutes more until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has thickened somewhat.

4. Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente, drain.

5. When the sauce is ready and the pasta is cooked, add the spaghetti to the sauce and toss to coat. Divide the pasta onto plates with 3-5 meatballs per serving. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


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