The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs, a rich spaghetti sauce loaded with homemade tender meatballs. With stovetop and oven directions!
Spaghetti and Meatballs is a classic dish almost everyone enjoys. I even think a majority of the population would say this is one of their all-time favorite meals.
A rich tomato based sauce is simmered for hours with homemade meatballs, serve with any type of pasta noodle and dinner will be devoured!
In all honesty, this recipe is the best I’ve ever had. I have perfected it over the years and I’m so happy to share it with you finally!
You can leave out the meat in the recipe and have a fantastic marinara sauce but I’ve got to say that the meatballs (and sausage! optional) really give the sauce its pop!
Yes, I put Italian sausage and meatballs in my sauce and simmer it for hours. This just adds dimension to the overall flavors of the sauce, and well… it’s just plain delicious!
You can leave out the sausage and just make the meatballs but growing up this is just what we did and I’ve stuck to it.
This is one of those recipes that looks like there are a million ingredients and steps to it. Be patient, this is a very simple recipe overall and it’s worth all the effort you put in!
I do have to warn you, this recipe might seem a little odd. Trust me, this is tried and true; I have made it literally 100 times, this is how I do it!
Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe Directions:
- First, you want to get the sauce simmering and then make the meatballs. To make the sauce, you fry the sausages in a little bit of olive oil until browned on all sides.
- Take out the sausages and add tomato paste, oregano, and onion powder to the pot and let it fry a little to release the flavors.
- Add all the ingredients to the pot and mix well, add the sausage, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Next, make the meatballs by combining ground beef, onion powder, garlic powder, cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, and pepper. Mix loosely until combined. Roll into 2 tablespoon sized balls. Set on a sheet tray and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Place meatballs in the sauce. Do not drain the oil off the baking sheet. The baking sheet will also have little bits stuck to it, this is the key flavor bomb to the whole recipe so don’t skip this step! Turn the broiler on high in the oven.
- Return the baking sheet to the oven and broil for about 3 minutes until all the bits are golden brown. Be EXTREMELY CAREFUL and take the sheet tray out of the oven, the oil will be very very hot. Deglaze sheet tray with the wine, pour everything into the sauce, scraping the bits off if necessary.
- Stir everything together, simmer for four hours, stirring occasionally. Serve over pasta of your choice.
Don’t have time to watch the pot simmer for four hours?
No worries at all. I do this all the time if I am busy and can’t stir it as much as needed.
Just make the sauce in a large pot that is oven safe, like a dutch oven. Make sure it has an oven safe top as well.
Follow the directions, but at the step where you let it simmer for four hours, instead just pop it into a 250-degree oven to slow cook.
Easy! Now, I suggest just stirring once every hour or so.
How to make roasted garlic:
This recipe calls for one head of roasted garlic. It is very simple to make!
You can make it ahead of time or roast it while the sauce is simmering and just add it in whenever it is ready, no worries!
- Take one head of garlic and cut off about 3/4 of an inch off the top, exposing all the cloves.
- Place it cut side up into a piece of tin foil that is big enough to wrap the head of garlic in.
- Drizzle one teaspoon of olive oil on top, sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and 1 crack of fresh pepper.
- Wrap in the foil, place into a preheated 375-degree oven. Bake for 35 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick inserted into a clove meets no resistance. It will be slightly golden brown.
- Let cool to the touch, then squeeze garlic from the base and all the cloves will pop out.
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Tools used for this recipe:
More tomato sauce recipes from my favorite bloggers:
- Homemade Marinara Sauce
- Italian Sausage Marinara
- Easy Sausage Bolognese
- 30 Minute Fresh Tomato Sauce
- Basil Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 links Italian Sausage
- 1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 - 28 ounce cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes with basil
- 1 head roasted garlic just the cloves
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves loosely packed
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese fresh grated
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese fresh grated
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 5 cracks fresh black pepper
In a large pot or dutch oven* over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and the sausages. Brown sausages on all sides, they do not have to be cooked through. Take out sausages and set aside.
Add the tomato paste, oregano, and onion powder to the pot. Stir constantly into the oil to "fry" and release the aromatics, 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and roasted garlic. Tear the basil leaves into the sauce. Add the cheese and sugar. Mix to combine. Add the sausages back to the pot making sure they are covered in sauce. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together loosely. Roll into 2 tablespoons sized balls, and place on a sheet tray so they are not touching. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Place meatballs into sauce. There will be excess oil and bits of meat left on the sheet tray. DO NOT THROW OUT. Place oven broiler setting on high. Broil sheet tray with the bits until everything is golden brown, about 3 minutes. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL and take sheet tray out of the oven, immediately deglaze the pan with the red wine from the sauce ingredients. Scraping the bits off the bottom.
Pour everything into the sauce**, cover and let simmer for 4 hours stirring occasionally.*** Serve with pasta of your choice and more cheese.
*Make sure to use a dutch oven or oven-safe pot with a lid if using the oven directions.
**This might seem odd to you but this is the main flavor bomb of the whole dish, do not skip this step!
***For oven directions, cover, and place in a 250-degree oven for 4 hours, stir at least once an hour.
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