Meatballs and Spaghetti

Meatballs and Spaghetti Recipe

Meatballs and Spaghetti Recipe

It’s unseasonably and unwelcomely cold outside today, but that suits my mood just fine because I have no intentions of leaving the house.   All I want to do today is cook, in my own kitchen, all by myself.  I tend to get cranky like this when I’ve been away from home for too long.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and I’m very grateful that we were able to spend Thanksgiving week in New Orleans with our family.  But after eight days on the road and three days of laundry and other wifely chores, I simply need a little time to myself doing what I love to do most, cook.  I’m going to prepare a big pot of Meatballs and Spaghetti and I’m going to let it simmer on the stove until the kids get home from school.  By that time, the house will be full of familiar and comforting aromas and I’ll be happy and content.

This was my mom’s Meatballs and Spaghetti recipe.  I emphasize “was” because my mom no longer prepares this dish.  She says it tastes better when I make it.  I couldn’t ask for a nicer compliment and I’m happy to preserve, and finally get on paper, yet another family recipe.

When I started writing the ingredient list and cooking instructions for this recipe, it made sense to divide it into two parts because I occasionally prepare the meatballs separate from the red gravy (New Orleans talk for tomato sauce, tomato gravy, spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce and marinara sauce).  Sometimes I do that because I’m short on time and end up making the dish over the course of two days.  On other occasions, I may only need one part of the recipe to prepare something totally different.  For instance, I like making huge batches of red gravy and freezing it in small portions for things like stuffed pasta shells, homemade pizza sauce and Chicken Parmesan.  In true New Orleans fashion, I also like to pour red gravy over Baked Macaroni or simply serve it as a dipping sauce for hot, buttered French bread.

The meatballs are just as versatile.  Occasionally, I’ll serve them in brown gravy or jazz them up in a spicy sauce for parties.  The meatballs can also be cooked ahead of time and frozen.  Just be sure to flash-freeze them first so they don’t stick together.  Flash-freezing is simply done by placing a single layer of cooked meatballs, spaced about 1-inch apart, on a large baking sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper.  Stick the baking sheet in the freezer until the meatballs are frozen.  This usually takes around 30 minutes, depending on how much stuff you have in your freezer.  Transfer the frozen meatballs to a resealable freezer bag and immediately return them to the freezer.

Meatball Recipe

Print Recipe

Print Recipe

1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground chuck
2 eggs
⅓ cup milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (or more if necessary)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (or 1 teaspoon parsley flakes)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground sirloin, ground chuck and remaining ingredients.  Blend mixture with your hands.  Try not to overwork the meat or your meatballs will be tough.  Roll meatballs to desired size (I like them about the size of a golf ball).  Add more bread crumbs if the meatballs will not hold their form.  Place meatballs on a large shallow baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Makes approximately 24 meatballs.

Red Gravy Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon bacon grease
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1 28-ounce can tomato puree
2 tomato puree cans of water
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (or 1 teaspoon parsley flakes)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves)

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and bacon grease over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic; cook until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add tomato paste.  Fry paste mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  (This extra step brings out the sweetness in the tomato paste.)  Add tomato puree and water.  Stir until the paste mixture is fully blended with the puree and water.  Add bay leaves, cayenne pepper and salt and black pepper to taste.  Bring sauce to a boil, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to simmer; cook, partially covered for 30 minutes.  Add cooked meatballs to sauce; cook, partially covered, for an additional 2 hours.  Stir occasionally to prevent sauce from sticking to pan.  About 10 minutes before cooking time ends, stir in fresh parsley and basil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Makes about 10 cups of sauce.

To complete the meal, cook a pound of spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender.  Drain.  Plate the pasta and spoon a couple of meatballs and a generous amount of red gravy on top.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and lots of French bread.   This recipe will make enough food to satisfy 8-10 hungry adults.  Any leftovers can be frozen or reheated later in the week for some over-the-top meatball poor boys.


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7 Responses
  1. Kathy says:

    I can’t wait to make this one! 🙂

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  4. Chrystal aka Sugahmama says:

    Genet i need a recipe for meatloaf with brown and red gravy. Thank you

    • Genet says:

      Hey Chrystal! I hope to get my meatloaf recipe posted soon. It’s delicious with the red gravy I serve with my Creole Daube or the brown gravy I serve with my Seven Steaks in Brown Gravy. Thanks for following!