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Meatballs with tomato sauce and pasta recipe

Meatballs with tomato sauce and pasta recipe

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  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
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  • Spaghetti

Meatballs are fantastic, very tasty and its a lovely lunch to serve. This recipe uses minced pork to make the meatballs.

London, England, UK

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • 1 glass milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 500g minced pork
  • pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • 2 (500g) jars tomato and basil sauce for meatballs
  • 400g spaghetti

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:50min ›Ready in:1hr10min

  1. Combine the onion, garlic, parsley and basil and mix well. Divide the mixture in half.
  2. In a large bowl, mix breadcrumbs with milk until soft. Add in the 2 eggs and the pork mince and mix well. Add half of the onion mixture, salt, pepper and grated cheese. Mix till combined.
  3. After mixing well, shape into perfect little golf balls and warm a little oil in a frying pan.
  4. One by one drop your little meatballs into the hot oil, and fry until light golden brown. Take them out to rest a plate.
  5. Start preparing the sauce by heating a generous drizzle of olive oil a large saucepan. Add the contents of bowl 2, and allow the onion, garlic, basil and parsley to start getting a very light golden colour, then add tomato sauce, salt and pepper.
  6. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Allow to slowly cook together on a gentle simmer till the sauce reduces and thickens by about half.
  7. Bring a pan of water the the boil and start boiling the spaghetti with one drop of oil.
  8. Once spaghetti is ready, drain and serve on plates and top with the meatball sauce. Sprinkle some more grated cheese over the top.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and beaten egg. Mix well and form into 12 balls. Store, covered, in refrigerator until needed.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more. Serve.

To make meatballs, put mince, egg, shallots, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, Italian herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix until well combined.

Roll level tablespoons of mince mixture into balls and place on a tray. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes (you can make these the night before if you prefer).

To make sauce, put oil, onion and garlic in a medium saucepan and cook for 5 minutes, until onion is soft. Pour in passata and water, add sugar and bay leaf and stir to combine. Bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional). Put spaghetti in the base of a 30 x 25 cm roasting tray. Drizzle oil over the top and toss well to coat spaghetti strands.

Pour hot tomato sauce over spaghetti and use tongs to stir the sauce through.

Arrange meatballs on top. Cover tightly with foil so no steam can escape and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and top with mozzarella. Increase oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional) and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.


The best option is to stick with the classic sides like pasta/spaghetti, baked potato, mashed potatoes or plain rice and a bowl of simple fresh salad.

  • Onion and garlic powder – for more texture sub with half medium white/brown onion (small dice), and 1 medium-large garlic clove (crushed).
  • Beef and pork meatballs substitute – use ground chicken or turkey instead (bake for 5-10 minutes less and then let simmer in the pan along with the sauce as instructed). Or you can simply make the meatballs only with ground pork as well.
  • Don’t overcook – A good rule of thumb here is to rather undercook the meatballs and let them simmer in tomato sauce for longer than 1 hour. If overcooked, meatballs will lose their texture and tenderness.
  • Use your hands for shaping – in my opinion, the easiest way and gives far the best results when it comes to perfectly formed round meatballs.
  • Store – Best consumed immediately but you can also let the meatballs cool and then place in an airtight glass container along with some sauce and pop into the fridge (up to a week) or freezer (2-3 months).

If you don’t want to bake them first that’s fine, i think it is even easier to cook them in a pan. Roll the meatballs (you’ll need to cook them in batches), cook on medium-high heat over stovetop until golden brown and then add to the sauce to simmer.

Baking/roasting food is usually a slightly healthier way of cooking than frying. However if you fry the meatballs on a pan on medium heat (just until they get a nice golden brown color) and the simmer after in sauce for at least 1 hour will still be a healthier option and will result in soft and flavorful meatballs. Be sure to use high quality vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil instead of olive or other oils as it has higher smoke point).

I hope you’ll enjoy this easy meatballs in tomato sauce recipe and if you make it, please let me know down below in the comments or by tagging @theyummy_bowl under your picture on Instagram.

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and a star rating below. I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or pin it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest! Your feedback is so important and it helps other TYB readers who are planning to make this recipe. Thank you, appreciated!

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 28 fluid ounces water

Mix ground beef, rice, onion, and egg together in a bowl with your hands shape into tennis-ball sized balls.

Stir tomato sauce and water together in a large pot bring too a boil. Gently lie meatballs into the sauce, place cover on the pot, and reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook until meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 35 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Put meatballs on a plate, cut each into halves, and ladle sauce over the meatballs to serve.

Classic spaghetti and meatballs

  • 1½ cups (110g) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup (125ml) milk
  • 500g beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup sage leaves, finely chopped
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, extra, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup (250ml) beef stock
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup thyme leaves, chopped
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • finely grated parmesan, to serve
  1. Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the milk is absorbed. Add the beef and pork mince, eggs, garlic, sage, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Using wet hands, roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a deep, large frying pan over high heat. Cook the meatballs in batches, turning frequently, for 4–5 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 5–7 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper, stir to combine and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and the meatballs are cooked through.
  3. While the meatballs are cooking, place the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for 8–10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and serve the spaghetti topped with the meatballs, basil leaves and parmesan. Serves 4–6
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The Story

Here’s one that comes from the heart. This is our signature family sugo: meatballs in tomato sauce. It’s the sauce that bubbled away quietly in the background every Sunday, filling the house with delicious anticipation it’s the sauce that simply holds everything together. In fact, when I talk about pasta and what it means to me, this is the sugo that I think of. Pair it with our spinach fettuccine, as we always served it, and you have the ultimate comfort food.

Little Al is primary stirrer for this dish, and also provides valuable quality control as the sauce cooks, so while he’s busy handling that I’ll give you a run down on how to make this delicious but simple sauce for yourself. Meatballs have been rolled in this house for as long as pasta, so it’s a strange experience for me to actually write down a recipe for it… But here goes!

Not in the mood for spaghetti? That’s fine — so many pastas cozy up to meatballs happily. Any long skinny noodle is twirlable with meatballs: linguine, fettucine, thin spaghetti. Chunkier cuts like ziti, penne and rigatoni are also good.

Spaghetti with Meatballs: Spaghetti and meatballs tossed with red sauce is an Italian classic, makes people happy, and just will never go out of style.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 slices best-quality bread, crusts removed
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (use 1 teaspoon if Parmesan is substituted for the Romano)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 28-ounce cans best-quality whole tomatoes, pulsed with juices in a blender
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

In a small saucepan, heat the milk. Soak the bread in the milk, turning the slices over to absorb it. Cool and mince the bread. Place it in a large bowl. Add the meats, garlic, onion, eggs, cheese, parsley, pepper, and salt. Using clean hands, mix together until completely combined.

Have a rimmed baking sheet or platter ready. Roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. (If you periodically run cold water over your hands, the meat won't stick to them as you roll.) If you have time, chill the raw meatballs to firm them up.

Heat a 14-inch skillet (or two smaller skillets to fry in batches) over high heat. Add the olive oil and when it is very hot, add the meatballs in a single layer. Don't crowd the pan work in batches if necessary. Fry the meatballs without moving for a few minutes, then turn as they cook to brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out any excess oil from the pan, carefully scraping around the meatballs.

Add the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the browned bits. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot pasta with 3 meatballs on top, some sauce, the grated cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ⅓ cup dry red wine
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 (1-ounce) slices whole-grain bread
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds 90% lean ground sirloin
  • 6 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces uncooked whole-grain spaghetti

To prepare sauce, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil swirl to coat. Add 1 cup chopped onion, 5 garlic cloves, and basil to pan cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomato paste cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and sugar bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

To prepare meatballs, coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Tear bread into pieces, and place in the bowl of a food processor pulse until fine crumbs form. Place breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/3 cup parsley, and next 6 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl stir until combined. Shape into 40 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each) arrange meatballs on prepared pans. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Add meatballs to tomato sauce simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Follow freezing instructions, or continue recipe.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Top pasta with meatball mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons parsley.