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Spaghetti and Meatballs


For juicy, tender meatballs don’t skip the bread mash. It adds a little time to the prep, but you will make that time up with the incredibly simple sauce that has just one (!) ingredient – Crushed San Marzano tomatoes.


  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 of a small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • olive oil
  • 1 (28) ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter


  1. In a small pot over medium-low heat, cook the bread and milk until the bread has absorbed the liquid. Remove the pot from the heat and, using a potato masher, mash the bread until it’s mushy. Let the mash cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, onion, parsley, parmesan, and the cooled bread mash. Add the ground beef and sausage and, using your hands, gently mix it all together until well combined. Roll 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of the meat mixture between your hands to form the meatballs.
  3. Coat the bottom of your largest pan with olive oil. Heat the pan over medium heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Carefully place the meatballs in the hot oil and let them brown on all sides. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to cook the meatballs in batches. Once browned remove the meatballs from the pan and place on a plate.
  4. Drain off most of the olive oil, leaving just a shine of it on the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring them to a low simmer over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the tomatoes and turn them to coat them in the sauce. Let it all simmer together for 20-30 minutes.
  5. While the sauce and meatballs are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook it according to the package directions.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the hot spaghetti with the meatballs, sauce, and butter. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Recipe adapted from Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan (Meatballs and Tomatoes recipe, page 399)

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 781
  • Sugar: 8.5g
  • Sodium: 982.9mg
  • Fat: 43.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 17g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 23.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 56.6g
  • Fiber: 4.6g
  • Protein: 39.7g
  • Cholesterol: 188.4mg

Keywords: marcella hazan meatballs, homemade meatballs recipe, spaghetti and meatballs