Spaghetti and Meatballs

Every year, for my birthday, my mother cooks me dinner.  She has made me the same dinner, every year, since I was about eight years old.  Spaghetti and meatballs.  It’s my favorite thing that she makes.

I had fresh oregano leftover this week from when I made an herb rub for flank steak.  I love fresh herbs.  There’s no better place for fresh oregano than a big pot of spaghetti sauce.

This is a variation on the recipe my mom gave me before I left for college.  It was one of the few things I learned to make before I left home and it was one of the few things, when I was first learning to cook, that I could rely on not to mess up.

This is also a great meal for my kid to eat.  He loves meatballs.  I buy him pasta made partially from veggies so I know he’s at least getting a serving of veggies when he insists on pasta.  He loves sauce and his little face just lights up when you tell him he’s having meatballs and sauce for dinner.  The pasta is just an added bonus for him.

Spaghetti and Meatballs


  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped small
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh basil, sliced into ribbons, then chopped
  • 2 28 oz cans tomato puree
  • 1 28 oz can ground peeled tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine

Saute onions in a little bit of olive oil until softened.  Do not brown.  Add garlic and stir another 30 second.

Add cans of tomato puree, ground tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and red wine.  Stir to combine.  Let simmer while you make the meatballs on medium-low heat, covered.  Stir in fresh herbs while water boils for pasta, after you have added the meatballs.



  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (I usually use ground sirloin, but used 80/20 today because the grocery store was out)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • dash garlic powder and dash onion powder

Mix together all the ingredients until incorporated, but do not over mix.  If you’ve too much dry (crumbs and cheese), add an additional egg.  Pinch off some of the mixture and roll into balls (about a tablespoon sized amount).


Place the meatballs on a paper towel lined plate and microwave, covered with wax paper, for four minutes.  Add to sauce.  (Or you can brown them in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil.  I tried baking them last time, but I didn’t like the consistency).

Serve with your favorite pasta.  We usually have garlic bread with this as well.


About Kristin

I never thought I would love to cook. I did everything I could to avoid learning to cook. But somewhere along the line, cooking became less of a chore and more of a way to relax and be creative. Not everything I make is a smashing success, but I've had more successes than failures. After months of trading recipes with my friends through Facebook and email, I've decided to collect all my favorites here and also document my attempts at new adventures in cooking, too.
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