Meatballs with Spaghetti

11 Spectacular New Ways to Eat Spaghetti
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 105 mins

Strictly an American invention, Mark Strausman’s spaghetti and meatballs are the classic dish most remember from childhood. “I don’t fry my meatballs, as Pino does. I simmer them in the tomato sauce until they’re cooked through. If you are like Pino and can’t bear the idea of meatballs on top of spaghetti (I’d like to know how many of you there are out there!), you can prepare this dish without the spaghetti and simply serve the meatballs in the sauce with lots of crusty artisan bread.”


1cup day-old sourdough bread cubes (crust removed)
1cup whole milk
2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1medium red onion, finely chopped
8ounces ground veal
8ounces ground chuck
8ounces lean ground pork
8ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
3tablespoons dried oregano
1/2cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2large eggs
1/4cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1teaspoon kosher salt
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sauce and Spaghetti:
1/4cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2medium red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1tablespoon tomato paste
1/2cup dry red wine
2cans (28-ounce) Italian plum tomatoes, with juice, puréed in a food processor
1teaspoon kosher salt
1/2teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2pounds hot cooked spaghetti or linguine


  1. To prepare meatballs, place bread and milk in a medium bowl and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Heat large Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  3. Place veal, beef, pork and sausage in a large bowl; using your hands, mix well. Add oregano, cheeses, eggs, parsley, bread mixture, onion, salt and pepper; mix well.
  4. To prepare sauce, heat a large saucepan over medium heat; add olive oil. Add onion and garlic, cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes, if using, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer gently 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Form 16 golf-ball size portions of meat. Add to sauce.
  6. Simmer gently until meatballs are thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in center, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti.

Recipe by Mark Strausman. Adapted from Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen (Artisan Books), copyright 2007 by Pino Luongo and Mark Strausman.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Glycemic Load 11
  • Calories 550
  • Fat 25g
  • Saturated Fat 8g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 12g
  • Cholesterol 120mg
  • Sodium 1360mg
  • Potassium 420mg
  • Carbohydrate 43g
  • Fiber 4g
  • Sugars 8g
  • Protein 35g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Vitamin A 25%
  • Vitamin C 60%
  • Calcium 25%
  • Iron 25%