This is the quintessential Sunday night supper. I use ground poultry for the meatballs because it has considerably less fat than ground beef. But trust me, the many herbs in this sauce lend a nice spicy kick and so much flavor that you’ll never miss the beef. Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce recipe takes some time – but for an Italian inspired, family meal – you simply can’t beat all of these real, home cooked tastes. A great chef once told meal that the secret ingredient in the fantastic pasta sauces that you get at restaurants is carrots. So I tried it out, and she was right!!
Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 baking sheet
- 1 large bowl
- tongs or a spoon
- 4 large plates or pasta bowls
To Make the Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained (if you can find the fire-roasted canned tomatoes, they give this dish the best flavor)
- 1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle in adobo and sauce
- 2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup shredded asiago cheese
To Make the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
- 1 slice fresh whole-wheat bread, made into crumbs in a food processor or blender
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 medium carrots, very finely chopped (if you dug out the food processor for the bread, use it chop the carrots as well!)
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 whole large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 box whole-wheat spaghetti
To Make the Sauce:
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions to the pot and saute until slightly tender (about 3 minutes), then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, chipotles, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper. Bring the pot a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes (until a little bit of the liquid has evaporated). While the sauce simmers, start making the meatballs.
To Make the Meatballs:
- Preheat the broiler on your oven and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine the turkey, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, carrots, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, egg, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Mix all of the ingredients well and then form into balls (about 2 1/2 inches around). Place the meatballs on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven for 10 minutes (until browned and almost entirely cooked through.)
- While the meatballs cook, return to the sauce. Remove the rosemary sprig from sauce using tongs or a spoon, and stir in the torn basil. Once the meatballs finish cooking, add them to the sauce, cover the pot, and let the whole thing cook for another 10 minutes (until the sauce has thickened a little more). While waiting for the sauce to finish, add the pasta to the boiling pot and cook according to the package directions.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and meatballs to the pasta and toss it all together well. Divide evenly among 4 large plates or pasta bowls and garnish with the shredded asiago cheese and the whole basil leaves.
To ensure the best results when preparing Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce, here are some valuable cooking tips and insights on common mistakes to avoid:
- The Perfect Meatball Texture: When combining the ground meat with the other ingredients, avoid overmixing the mixture. Overmixing can result in dense and tough meatballs. Gently mix until the ingredients are just combined for tender and succulent meatballs.
- Let the Flavors Develop: After shaping the meatballs, refrigerate them for about 30 minutes before cooking. Chilling allows the flavors to meld together and helps the meatballs retain their shape during cooking.
- Test for Seasoning: Before shaping all the meatballs, cook a small portion and taste it. Adjust the seasoning accordingly to suit your preferences. It’s easier to make changes at this stage rather than after all the meatballs are cooked.
- Tender Spaghetti Al Dente: Cook the spaghetti just until al dente, which means it’s firm to the bite. Overcooking the pasta can result in a mushy texture. Follow the package instructions for cooking time, but do a taste test a minute or two before the recommended time to ensure it’s cooked to perfection.
- Simmer for Flavorful Sauce: Allow the sauce to simmer gently for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop. This slow cooking process helps the sauce thicken and intensifies the taste. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Serving Your Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce
Now that your Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce is ready to be enjoyed, let’s explore some delightful serving suggestions:
- Classic Italian Style: Serve the spaghetti and meatballs with a generous sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a few torn basil leaves. Accompany it with a side of garlic bread or a crusty baguette to mop up the delicious sauce.
- Mixed Greens Salad: Balance the richness of Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce with a refreshing mixed greens salad. Toss together crisp lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a simple vinaigrette. The salad adds a fresh and vibrant element to the meal.
- Zucchini Noodles: For a lighter and low-carb option, serve the meatballs and sauce over zucchini noodles. Spiralize fresh zucchini and lightly sauté it until tender. Top it with the meatballs and sauce for a guilt-free twist on the classic.
- Meatball Subs: Transform the dish into a hearty sandwich by placing the meatballs and sauce in a soft hoagie roll. Add some melted mozzarella or provolone cheese, and you have a satisfying meatball sub that’s perfect for lunch or a casual dinner.
- Beverage Pairings: Complement the flavors with a glass of red wine, such as Chianti or Sangiovese. If you prefer a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or a fruity iced tea would be refreshing choices.
Can I make the meatballs ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can shape the meatballs and refrigerate them a day in advance. When ready to cook, bring them to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
How do I store any leftovers of Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce?
Place any leftovers of Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water or broth to moisten if needed.
Can I freeze the meatballs?
Yes, you can freeze both cooked and uncooked meatballs. For uncooked meatballs, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. Cooked meatballs can be frozen in a similar manner. Thaw frozen meatballs in the refrigerator before using or reheating.
Can I use different types of pasta?
Absolutely! While spaghetti is the classic choice, this dish works well with other pasta varieties like linguine, fettuccine, or penne. Feel free to experiment and use your favorite pasta shape.
Can I make the sauce ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the sauce on the stovetop before serving, and if needed, add a splash of water or broth to adjust the consistency.
Get ready to impress your taste buds with the ultimate Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce recipe. Dive into this flavorful Italian classic, and don’t forget to share the recipe and subscribe to our blog for more culinary delights.