UltiMatt Italian Meatballs and Spaghetti

When it comes to comfort food, Italian meatballs and spaghetti is right at the top of my list. Super savory, full of garlic, basil, onions, and slow-cooked homemade pomodoro sauce … scrumptious. Then you sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese on top so it gets melted while baking and it’s heaven.

The following is adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe that I tried last year. I hope you enjoy it as much as our household did. The leftovers, if there are any, are great for meatballs sandwiches. 🙂

Browning meatballsSaucing meatballsMeatballs baking dishBaked meatballsFinished meatballsDished meatballs

UltiMatt Italian Meatballs and Spaghetti
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups heated Pomodoro Sauce (click on link), or good quality jarred tomato sauce
  • ½ pound mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.
  4. Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling.
  5. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. Set the pan aside - you'll need it to brown the meatballs.
  7. Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into 9 equal pieces and shape them into 9 nice looking meatballs.
  8. Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs, in batches to keep from steaming them, on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  9. Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over.
  10. Sprinkle with the grated mozzarella cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
  11. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  12. While meatballs are in the oven, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well, pour on the rest of the sauce, and mix well.
  13. If serving on a platter, spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately along with extra mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese.