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James Carrier Photo by: James Carrier

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Homemade meatballs add rich flavor to a simple pasta night. Serve meatballs and spaghetti with a crisp green salad.

Sunset JANUARY 2001

  • Yield: Makes 4 servings


  • 1 pound ground lean beef (7% or less fat)
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions (3/4 lb.)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • About 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (28 oz.) tomato purée
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup fat-skimmed beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 pound dried spaghetti
  • About 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley


1. In a covered 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring 2 1/2 to 3 quarts water to a boil.

2. In a bowl, mix beef, 1/2 cup onions, egg white, bread crumbs, 1/2 tablespoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Shape mixture into 12 equal balls (about 1 3/4 in. each).

3. Place meatballs in a single layer, without crowding, in an 11- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat; turn as needed to brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total per batch. As meatballs are browned, transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

4. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups onions and 1/2 tablespoon garlic to frying pan; stir often until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomato purée, wine, broth, basil, and sugar; stir until boiling.

5. Add browned meatballs to sauce; when sauce boils, cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are no longer pink in the center (cut to test), 8 to 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, add spaghetti to boiling water and cook until barely tender to bite, 7 to 9 minutes; drain well.

7. Mound spaghetti in a wide bowl. Pour meatballs and sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese and parsley; serve with salt, pepper, and additional cheese to add to taste.


If desired, omit red wine in sauce and add 1/3 cup more beef broth in step 4.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 670
  • Calories from fat: 16%
  • Protein: 42g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 4.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 97g
  • Fiber: 8.2g
  • Sodium: 1318mg
  • Cholesterol: 69mg

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Spaghetti with Meatballs recipe