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Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Meatballs are a funny thing, every family has their own recipe. I still remember eating many of my mother’s delicious meatballs while she was frying them up, then sitting down to eat more again minutes later at dinner. The same is true in my house – my children tend to brag about the number of meatballs they ate at dinner. They often ask, “Mom, is it ok if I eat seven meatballs?” I came up with our family recipe a while back, and my daughter told me I should make sure they are on the table at least once a week.  

When I am back at the office for meetings, I make sure our staff sits down for lunch together. Last month, I had a meeting about an hour away and knew I wouldn’t be back in time to cook, so I called in my recipe for meatballs and asked our kitchen staff to make a simple dish of spaghetti with tomato sauce and my meatballs. Thinking they were really nothing special, I was surprised when I walked into the kitchen and everyone was raving about my meatballs. Our staff asked for the recipe, so I said, “Let’s share it on the blog.”

So here you go, Carla’s Meatballs, for your family to enjoy, we hope.

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs


For the sauce

For the meatballs



  1. Make the sauce: Combine the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, and salt in a large saucepan. Simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes uncovered. Stirring frequently and breaking up the tomatoes as they soften.
  2. Pass the tomato sauce through a food mill fitted with a disc with small holes. Stir in the basil leaves.
  3. Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and milk until the milk has completely absorbed.
  4. Add the beef, eggs, cheese, and salt. Mix until it just comes together.
  5. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil and fry a small test meatball. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  6. Shape the mixture into 45 meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each.
  7. Fry the meatballs, in batches, over medium heat. Turning them to evenly brown until cooked through. Adding more olive oil to the pan, between batches, if needed.
  8. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  9. Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce.
  10. Serve with the meatballs and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

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