Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell
8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup pasta mixture, 1/2 cup sauce, and 3 meatballs)

"I don't remember having spaghetti and meatballs as a child at home; we had polpette, which had the shape of crab cakes. Spaghetti and meatballs, on the other hand, is a big Italian American dish, a cuisine born out of the early Italian immigrants adapting to the New World." -Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare sauce, place half of the tomatoes in a food processor, and process until smooth. Pour pureed tomatoes into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomatoes.

Step 2

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in pureed tomatoes, red pepper, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaves. Keep warm.

Step 3

To prepare meatballs, preheat oven to 400°. Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup cheese, and the next 7 ingredients (cheese through egg white). Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) meatballs, and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until done. Add meatballs to sauce; cook over low heat 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Step 4

Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta; return to pot. Spoon about 2 cups tomato sauce (leaving meatballs in pan) into pasta, and toss well to coat. Transfer pasta mixture to a platter; top with remaining sauce and meatballs. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese.

Ratings & Reviews

Adrien2013's Review

December 13, 2014
Best spaghetti and meatballs ever. Added a little Parmesan at the end and made homemade garlic toast as well. Used Delallo spaghetti no. 4 and Bella Terra organic Italian whole peeled tomatoes.

CherylT's Review

November 13, 2013
I only made the meatball portion of the recipe and I was really happy with the results. I did make a few changes though. I substituted panko for the breadcrumbs and I used a mixture of 1/2 ground pork, 1/2 ground beef. I also added chopped onions and extra garlic for more flavor. I doubled the recipe and froze meal-sized portions of the meatballs for future dinners. I loved being able to cook them in the oven because there was so much less mess than I would have had if I had cooked them on the stovetop.

pamelamandp's Review

September 01, 2013
I didn't make the sauce, just the meatballs. It was easy and delicious. Yum. Will definitely make these again.

CarrieLMB's Review

February 02, 2013
2/2/13 Turned out nicely. Allergic to tomatoes, but husband and guests liked it. They said it had a nice kick. Kids liked meatballs. Added garlic to meatballs (extra) and sauce.

KMartinez's Review

December 07, 2011
The meatballs are fabulous. Instead of white bread, I used a mixture of panko and whole-grain breadcrumbs. The sauce is a little bit on the thin side, but I added the leftover spaghetti to the sauce and it had the perfect consistency the next day. I thought it might be a little too spicy for the kids, but they loved it.

breynolds8's Review

October 24, 2011

gruvie's Review

May 14, 2011
The meat balls were pretty good. The sauce in this recipe lacked flavor and was not rich and thick like it looks in the picture.

ktornstrom's Review

September 03, 2010
i love the flavor of this recipe, it has just enough spice! instead of using white bread i buy the italian breadcrumbs and instead of plain canned tomatoes i use the roasted canned tomatoes... this is a fabulous recipe and so very easy! if u dont want to use all of the meatballs u can freeze the rest

chbinder's Review

May 22, 2010
I have only made the meatball portion of this recipe. we love them. we've served them as a meal or as an appetizer. most recently i made them for a graduation party. everyone loved them. I add 3-4 links of italian turkey sausage which adds a nice kick to them and a bit more flavor. Easy and simple to make. I have made them so often that at this point i can make them in my sleep!

paulaandclaire2's Review

October 24, 2009
Wonderful meatballs! I follow the exact directions. These are the only ones I make. I usually double or triple the batch and then freeze them to use over the course of one month. I have never made the sauce, so the rating is just for the meatballs..