Nonna’s Spaghetti & Meatballs

This is our family recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs given to me by my Mother-in-law, who makes the best red sauce I’ve ever tasted, and I have been making it myself for over thirty years. The trick to this recipe, as in most Italian cooking is to use the best ingredients you can find.

Although my Mother-in-law cans her own tomatoes from her garden, I don’t have that option, so I buy a good canned, tomatoes imported from Italy. Pomi is one brand that is now available in grocery stores, and is a personal favorite of mine.

The choice of meat is up to you, but I usually add a couple of sausages, plus a piece of beef to the sauce, and prefer a combination of ground beef and veal for the meatballs. Although I use strained tomatoes or passata most often when I make my sauce, chopped tomatoes work well also.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Nonna's Spaghetti And Meatballs

Nonna's Spaghetti And Meatballs

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

This is our family recipe for pasta sauce with meatballs, and it makes the best meatballs I've ever tasted.


For The Sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 2 or 3 Small Pieces of Meat (Pork, Beef, or Chicken)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Dash of Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
  • 1 (6oz) Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Large Can Pureed Tomatoes ( I use 1 (26oz) box Pomi Tomatoes)
  • About 2 1/2 Cups water
  • 3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Pound Of Spaghetti or Pasta of Choice


  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Pork or Veal
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup Soft Bread Crumbs (best made from soft bread)
  • 1/2 Cup Milk


  1. Brown the meat pieces in the oil until well colored, then add the garlic, onion, and saute until tender.
  2. Add the paste, tomatoes, water and herbs, and bring to a boil, then season with salt and pepper to your own personal taste.
  3. Turn mixture down to a simmer.
  4. For the meatballs, add the bread crumbs to the milk to moisten.
  5. Mix all the meatball ingredients together with the bread crumb mixture.
  6. Shape into golf ball sized balls, and gently drop into the simmering sauce.
  7. Do not stir for the first 15 minutes or so until the meatballs begin to firm up.
  8. Continue to cook for 2 hours over very low heat, stirring occasionally, and adding extra water as needed if the sauce becomes too thick.
  9. This sauce, can be used over your pasta of choice while you serve the meatballs and meat pieces in a separate bowl.
  10. Just before serving, stir the 3 tablespoons of grated cheese into the sauce.
  11. Serve over pasta cooked al dente, and offer a little more parmesan cheese at the table.

Did you make this recipe?

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