Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Spaghetti + Meatballs=Love

Spaghetti and meatballs. The Pioneer Woman has once again come through with an easy version of a classic dish everyone loves. There is so much to love about this recipe.

Spaghetti and Meatballs | #classic #recipe

I love that the meatballs are seasoned in an Italian-fashion, and not just like a variation of meatloaf (though I do love my meatloaf too).

I love that my husband thought the meatballs were some of the best he’d ever had.

I love that I wanted to eat the meatballs plain (and I don’t ever just want to eat meat to eat meat).

I love that the sauce was chunky with veggies and not pureed to oblivion.

I love that the sauce has a distinct wine flavor (but could be omitted if that’s not your thing).

I love that I got to use herbs from my balcony garden in both the sauce and the meatballs.

I love that I made this recipe on the second day of classes and it made extra that I can freeze and enjoy in week 8 when I am stressed out.

I love eating this dish, and smelling this dish, and tasting this dish, and making this dish, and loving this dish. And talking about this dish! So go make this dish. Yum!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Servings: 6-8+
  • Print

from The Pioneer Woman


For the Meatballs…

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • black pepper
  • milk
  • olive oil for frying

For the Sauce…

  • 1/3 whole onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped peppers (I used red, yellow, and orange)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 1/8 cup fresh oregano, minced
  • cooked spaghetti


For the Meatballs…

Fill a large bowl with beef, garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, and Parmesan. Add a splash of milk and a sprinkling of ground black pepper. Then, use your hands to combine everything together. Mix it real well! Then roll it into 1″ balls, and place in 9×13″ or cookie sheet. This should make about 3 dozen meatballs. Place in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to firm up, but you can leave them up to 24 hours. I made my meatballs in the morning and cooked them in the evening and it worked out great.

Spaghetti and Meatballs | #classic #recipe
One way to make (somewhat) meatballs that are all the same size is to press the meat mixture into the bottom of the pan and then cut it up into squares and form each square into an individual ball…

Spaghetti and Meatballs | #classic #recipe
…like this!

When you’re ready to cook the meatballs, heat olive oil in a heavy stock pot (or a skillet deep enough for the sauce ingredients too) on medium-high heat. Brown meatballs in batches of 8-10, depending on the size of the pan or pot. When meatballs are browned (be sure to flip frequently to brown on all sides), drain on paper towel(s) over a plate and set aside. Do NOT wash the pot. Use it to make the sauce. It will be so good.

For the sauce…

Using the same pot as before, cook onions, peppers, and garlic until soft. This should take a few minutes but not much more. Add tomatoes and wine and stir together. Then add sugar, parsley, oregano, a dash of salt, and a healthy sprinkling of ground black pepper. Mix together, then let cook uncovered for 20 minutes over medium heat.  Add meatballs to the pot, stir to combine, and turn the heat down to low. Let simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir every so often and be sure to taste it during this portion and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Meanwhile, make the pasta. Once the sauce is done, top pasta with sauce and extra Parmesan and enjoy!


This makes a ton of sauce. Actually, about 8-9 cups. Not a ton, but close. For the two of us, this was more than enough for two generous servings for dinner, then one smaller serving to finish off the pasta I made (eaten another night as leftovers). Then, I froze the rest of the sauce and meatballs in 3 cup containers (full) for future dinners. You could decrease the amounts but I love the “work once, eat many times” approach here. 🙂


14 thoughts on “Spaghetti + Meatballs=Love”

  1. Yum! I’m wondering if I could duplicate the meatball recipe using Morningstar crumbles for a vegetarian version?

    Gotta love spaghetti sauce in bulk–I love freezing soups in the winter to pull out during one of those stressful weeks you mentioned!

    Happy Labor Day 🙂


    1. I’m sure you could do that! Or maybe even with lentils or beans and some flour or something to hold it all together… If you try it, let me know how it goes! 🙂


    1. I know! We live in an apt. so we don’t really have room for a 2nd freezer (though my husband has offered to get me one as a gift sometime!), but when we get a house that is definitely something I want to invest in!


  2. Gotta love p-dub. That woman will never steer you wrong! What a great dish. I should make up a batch of these to freeze for when my schedule gets crazy in WEEK 2!


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