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Horizontal image of a plate of pasta and meatballs in a sauce with more of the main dish in a pan in the background next to a bowl of shredded cheese.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings (20-24 meatballs) 1x


When it comes to classic Italian comfort food, nothing beats garlicky meatballs baked and simmered in savory red sauce, served over perfectly cooked spaghetti.



  • 6 cups simple marinara (or store-bought)
  • 1 slice stale white bread (or 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound ground beef (preferably 80% lean/20% fat)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray
  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the marinara in a large, wide stew pot over medium heat. Allow it to come to a gentle simmer, reduce the heat to low, and then cover with a lid.
  2. If you’re using sliced bread, place it in the food processor and pulse until fine breadcrumbs form.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs, milk, ground beef, egg, onions, garlic, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, 4 tablespoons of the parsley, and the salt and pepper to a large bowl. Gently fold the mixture together, making sure not to overwork the meat. 
  4. Using about 2 tablespoons as your size guideline, form the mixture into equally-sized meatballs. You’ll end up with approximately 20-24 of them.
  5. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until the meatballs are lightly golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling water according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.
  7. Add the meatballs to the marinara and cover the pot. Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 5 minutes.
  8. Divide the spaghetti, meatballs, and marinara among plates. Garnish with the remaining parsley and parmesan cheese.

  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Stovetop/Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Italian, meatball, spaghetti, pasta, marinara