Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Total Time:
1 hr 30 min
30 min
1 hr

4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed with some kosher salt to make a paste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, pureed in a blender
  • 1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch Italian parsley
  • 1 Cubano chile pepper, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 recipe Meatballs, recipe follows
  • 1 recipe Spaghetti, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Meatballs:
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped and sauteed
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup pure olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Spaghetti:
  • 12 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 pound #8 or #9 spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmesan

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add pureed tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup water, bay leaf, parsley, Cubano pepper, and bring to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Add meatballs and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and meatballs are tender. Remove the bay leaf.

Add enough sauce to the drained pasta (that has been returned to the pot) to coat and continue cooking briefly, just until pasta is well combined with sauce. Serve pasta with meatballs on top and garnished with fresh basil.


Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, except olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Heat the oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, fry meatballs, in batches as needed, until golden brown, but not cooked through completely. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.


Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain well in a colander, return to pot, and toss with sauce. Serve with meatballs and Parmesan on top.

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    78 Reviews
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    My family loved the recipes.
    this is really good. I did modify it a little, not much, by adding red pepper flakes just before the onions were soft and Italian spices (about 12 shakes when I put in all the tomatoes. overall, the outcome was great. I also only used ground beef for the meatballs because that was all I had. I also added some fresh basil from my garden to the meatballs themselves and it came out great. thanks Bobby for the great recipes.
    I have been using this recipe for years. Had to find it again so I could reprint because I had used it so much.  
    This makes a great meatloaf as well!!!
    I've been making these meatballs for years and they are always a hit! First time baking them and it made the recipe that much more simpler! Thanks urlucky2 for the tip!
    I only made the meatballs and they were fabulous. I didn't want fried, so I baked them at 400 for 11 minutes. I will definitely make them again
    These were good - but nothing I''m going to make again. Following the directions without any changes, no one complained about supper but neither was there much raving going on. If your goal is a nice simple tomato sauce that is better than the stuff in a jar and a tender meatball, this is the recipe for you. If you are looking for lots of flavor and wow factor, keep searching. On the plus side, this was extremely simple to make and made the house smell good.
    This is delicious. My family said it was the best spaghetti and meatballs they ever ate. They thought it was much better than any restaurant.
    Very easy and tasty, took longer then expected, but worth it.
    Very Good.
    Cubanelle Peppers are a variety of peppers that are also known as Italian Frying Peppers, they are long, thin, light green and curl at the ends. My Sicilian Mother in Law stuffs them, they are mild yet very tasty and are not as green tasting as regular green peppers. They are a perfect touch to any italian recipe. I live in a very Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY and use these peppers often. Cubanelle is just the variety name.
    Good.... not great!
    I agree with reviewer Jenerative of Atlanta, Bobby should provide alternatives. Cubano peppers are not available in my super markets either. I deduct 1 star in my grading for doing that. Also, I agree with reviewer jerryplatt of Hopewell Junction about
    the need to add sauteed onions to make these meatballs sing!
    BTW, What is RUDYSPICE ?
    Best and easiest sauce and meatballs ever! I have made hundreds and thousands of meatballs... but these were super simple and very tasty when finished off in the tomato sauce. It's a keeper!
    This recipe calls for adding a cup of water that brought down the taste factor. I like Bobby Flay's meatball recipe the best. The only thing that he doesn't reccomend is adding sauteed onions which I normally do that gives it a little sweetness that brings it over the edge with raving reviews from my three sons and their girlfriends.
    For a great Spaghetti Sauce recipe, check out: 
    The meatballs turned out well. I didn't care for the sauce. I've found better recipes that didn't require as much work.
    I stopped short of five stars because while this was very good, in the end I tasted the sauce and added a couple of ingredients to the sauce. (That's just my taste.) I did LOVE the meatballs. I thought they were a great use of ingredients and came out quite flavorful. My other commets: To a former reviewer whom asked where the basil is. It's added at the end. Read the recipe. To Bobby, what is a Cubano pepper? I don't mean to sound daft but I just couldn't find anything anywhere called a Cubano pepper. Is that a Habanero pepper or Scotch Bonnet? Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!
    FANTASTIC! I made this recipe and received RAVE reviews from my family and friends. I couldn't find a Cubano pepper so I substituted a Poblano. (Hazard of living in Minnesota in January) Also added 1 Tbsp white sugar. It was absolutely amazing! The meatballs were perfectly delicious. The sauce does take quite a bit of time to fully develop. Well worth the time however! Thanks Bobby! Love your shows!
    WOW! The sauce and meatballs were great! A definite keeper. We did make a couple of changes. First we put the tomatoes right into the pot and used the immersion blender instead of dragging out the regular blender. We also added Italian seasoning and some sugar. I let everything cook in the crock pot all afternoon. We had also browned some sweet sausage and put it in the mix. Can't wait for leftovers this week.
    awesome! i made this a day early so the flavors had time to "marry" and couldn't have been happier. the only thing i changed was add dried oregano and crushed red pepper to the sauteed garlic and onions because we like things to be very flavorful.  
    oh, btw, the pepper is mispelled - it's a cubanelle pepper, which would explain why people can't find it!
    Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce Was Deliouso !
    Thanks Bobby Flay ! your the best and all those chief who cooks so
    good ! .All those people on food Network you Inspire ME each day thank you! as me and my family say " Follow Your Dream It Will Come True I Just Know It!"- Chief Queen P.S. Me and My sister love Food NetWork Peace Out
    I cooked spaghetti all of the time when my kids where little and I was in nursing school and they hated spaghetti for years later. I made this dinner tonight and the entire family loved it and made me swear to only make this spaghetti and meatballs recipe. It was so tasty and wonderful. I didn't use the pepper Bobby mentioned because I couldn't find it and I used my own brand of tomatoes. Also, I baked my meatballs on 350 for 30 minutes instead of the messy frying. The meatballs were so delicious. The sauce was so delicious. I used fresh basil from my garden and store bought fresh parsely. I highly recommend this recipe.
    Good meatball recipe--very similar to my own and I always get asked for the recipe. I add a little onion powder and ground black pepper to mine. I also like to bake, rather than fry, the meatballs before adding to the sauce. Good sauce recipe on the whole, but where's the basil and oregano?? I definitely did not add the Cuban peppers. I kicked it up by adding chunks of both sweet and hot Italian sausages with the meatballs and let the sauce simmer for about 2 hours till the sausage pieces are cooked. If the sauce tastes a little bitter, I add a little baking soda to neutralize the bitterness (a tip from a little old Italian lady).
    nice meatballs but how could you make a true Italian recipe without using basilm or oregano? and Cuban peppers!? Italians use red pepper flakes. Nice try for a sweet Irish boy though.

    we use a combination of parm and romano cheese in the meatballs. you can also add sausage and, pork neck bones which give the best flavor.
    The meatball recipe is very similar to the way my grandma makes them... so much so that I was wondering if maybe Mr. Flay stole her recipe :P hehehe In my local supermarket (in Buffalo) you can get "meatloaf mix" which is the beef, veal and pork already mixed together, that is if you chose to use all three. Great job on this recipe! love the sauce too :)
    It was delicious(the meatballs). Since it was my first time makin meatballs and a pizza i was pretty nervous about th results. Yet, my fam luvd it! since it was a meatball pizza, they got full off of jus one slice, yet, they tried to go bak for seconds.. but, bets believe th rest was gone th next day.! thank u bobby for this scrumptious meatball recipe! :))

    -- all smiles,
    your fans from MS!
    I used lean ground turkey instead of the other meats ... it was delicious, and even my extremely picky, beef-loving fiance loved the meal. ;)
    Another amazing Bobby Flay recipe. This was my first attempt at meatballs and will be the only recipe I ever use. Great for a crowd as sauce can be made ahead and left to simmer. Wonderful!
    I used a different sauce recipe but I made these meatballs and wow!! They were delicious and such a crowd pleaser. I didn't use veal however - I just used beef and pork and it tasted just fine. Wonderful recipe!
    Very simple to make and truely delicious! My whole family loves it and asks me to make it often. It's a real winner in my house.
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