That title is a bold statement, but honestly, these really are Best Spaghetti and Meatballs There Ever Was. Just read the dozens of reader comments below!
We LOVE spaghetti and meatballs in our family, and while these are in fact, the “best,” be sure to check out these Five Ingredient Spaghetti and Meatballs, these Lighter Spaghetti and Meatballs, and these One Pot Healthier Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Spaghetti and Meatballs – the ultimate of all comfort foods, right? Would you believe me if I told you this is the best spaghetti and meatballs you’ll ever have? Well, it is.
I wish I could take credit for it, but all the glory goes to my Mom. She’s made these (almost) exact spaghetti and meatballs my entire life, and now, it’s something my family will grown up eating. God’s honest truth, we have yet to go to a restaurant or home kitchen where the meatballs were superior to hers. Call it bias, call it favoritism, call it what you want, but it’s true – you won’t find a spaghetti and meatball recipe as good as this one.
When I was in college I tried to come up with my own “perfect” spaghetti and meatballs, because I was very into making every single recipe my own (establishing my independence… or something like that), but mine never turned out as delicious as hers. I perfected the soft meatball, but hers were slightly denser with more texture. I used expensive San Marzano tomatoes, but my sauce was always lacking depth of flavor and the smooth, thick consistency of her sauce. After five or six failed attempts, I had to waive the white flag of defeat and call her up to figure out what her secret was.
Secrets to Best Spaghetti and Meatballs
- saltine cracker crumbs
- ground beef and Italian sausage combination
- red wine
- tomato paste
How to make perfect meatballs
Of course there’s ground beef, but what makes these meatballs extra special is the addition of Italian sausage and saltine cracker crumbs. The Italian sausage adds flavor you just can’t get anywhere else and the cracker crumbs aid in a softer, but still toothsome meatball.
There are also the typical seasoning you’d find in a meatball recipe – onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper – as well as a little bit parmesan cheese and an egg. Really, the only thing I do differently than my Mom, is add in a little bit of grated yellow onion for added moisture and flavor.
Once everything is mixed, form the mixture into meatballs. In our family, the meatballs are huge – I find that the bigger they are the more likely they are to stay moist. A little pro tip for ya. After all of the meatballs re formed, brown them in a good amount of olive oil – about two tablespoons. Make sure to brown them on ALL sides, and don’t worry about cooking them through, they will finish cooking in the sauce later.
Warning: At this point your house will start to smell absoltely divine…Try to refrain from eating raw meatballs…
This was always where my main problem was. I could never get the sauce to the right flavor or consistency, and after talking to my Mom and re-making it her way, I found out it was because I wasn’t using red wine and I was using whole canned tomatoes instead of tomato paste, which was making for a slightly watery, less flavorful sauce. Now, I use tomato paste in almost all of my sauces – pizza sauce, marina sauce, soups, stews – the depth of flavor it adds is unbelievable, almost like you’ve been letting it cook for hours and hours – of course you don’t have to let people know that wasn’t the case….
Once the meatballs are done browning, transfer them to a plate and throw the sliced onions and peppers into the pan. Let them sweat a bit, then deglaze with a healthy dose of red wine. Add in your tomato paste, water, sugar, salt, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, then give it a quick stir. Transfer your meatballs (along with all those juices!) back into the tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, the sauce is thick and your house smells like an Italian grandma’s kitchen.
And there you have it…the best spaghetti and meatballs there ever was… the end.
Substitutions and Tips for Success
- It’s important to remember to just mix the meat until it’s combined. Overworked meatballs = tough meatballs.
- Do not move the meatballs until they’re ready to turn over! Once the meatballs are perfectly brown, they will easily release from the pan.
- Choose a wine that you would like to drink.
- Save a little bit of pasta water in case you need to loosen the sauce up a little bit
- Sub out the parmesan for pecorino
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 568 Total Fat: 23g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 114mg Sodium: 1142mg Carbohydrates: 49g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 12g Protein: 35g