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Real Spaghetti & Meatballs

Growing up, one of my favorite meals was my mom’s homemade meatballs. A recipe that was handed down to her from her mother. I haven’t made meatballs in years and was looking forward to trying Ina Garten’s meatball recipe.

Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake selected Barefoot Contessa’s Real Spaghetti and Meatballs as the first Barefoot Bloggers recipe for February.  I made some modifications to the original recipe. We don’t eat pork and the market had no ground veal, so I used half ground beef and half ground chicken. I was also generous with the cheese. I have a cheese addiction. Lastly, I let the sauce simmer for a little longer than the recipe called for to let the flavors develop.

The resultant jumbo-sized meatballs were full of flavor. I wish there had been a little more sauce In my opinion, there was about a cup or 2 too little sauce for the amount of meatballs. The leftovers made a great lunch the next day.


Real Spaghetti & Meatballs (Barefoot Contessa Family Style, page 103)


For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
  2. Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.
  3. For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  4. Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Comments on: "Real Spaghetti & Meatballs" (3)

  1. I thought this recipe was really delicious. I only made half the meatballs and froze the rest, and that seemed to be just right for the amount of sauce.

  2. I agree, more sauce is a always a good thing. I usually like to stick some in the freezer. Your meatballs look fantastic!

  3. […] Spaghetti & Meatballs […]

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