Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs, its so good and perfect for kids as well as adults. I am one of the few people that didn’t grow up enjoying spaghetti and meatballs as a kid though. My mom and grandmother always just cooked spaghetti bolognese. I didn’t even make meatballs until I was about 25. The first recipe I tried was a mozzarella stuffed meatball. They were so perfect; they got me hooked. Now I love to make the classic Italian inspired American comfort food on a regular basis. On this recipe, I used lean ground turkey for the meat and wheat bread for the bread crumbs. You can certainly use white bread crumbs and beef instead of turkey. I also added a little red pepper flake to spice up this dish.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial day weekend. We forgot the camera, but spent Monday afternoon at downtown Disney. My son had a blast playing at the Lego store, riding the kiddy train, and the beautiful carousel. We then went by T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure restaurant. They have a gift shop and an area for the kids to “dig up their own fossils.”  There are little paint brushes for the kids to unearth the pretend prehistoric bones from fine smooth little rocks. We ate at the restaurant but decided to skip the line. I hardly ever wait in line at restaurants. If it isn’t nice enough to have reservations, we ALWAYS eat at the bar. The wait time was insane and the bar was bare. We quickly made our way to the bar.  Right after we sat down with our little one, everyone else soon followed suit and it also filled up. The atmosphere was amazing. There was a huge salt water reef tank behind the bar. The bar counter was made of a material resembling ice and periodically changed colors. There was a giant moving octopus above us with other floating sea creatures like jellyfish hanging from the ceiling. One part of the restaurant was an ice cave that changed colors. There was a huge T-Rex which moved and made loud sounds at the front of the restaurant. The rest of the restaurant resembled a prehistoric rain forest. The design was definitely Disney, attention was given to every little detail. My husband and I shared one appetizer sampler that had bruschetta, quesadillas, onion rings, and queso dip. My son enjoyed tasting our treats as well as his dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and red skinned mashed potatoes with garlic. The food exceeded our expectations, and we were so full at the end of the appetizer, we decided not to get entrees.

For dessert we stopped by the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. My husband had a root beer float and my son and I shared a dark chocolate coffee ice cream treat. Yes, he loves dark chocolate. My son prefers savory over sweet most of the time, but really enjoys dark chocolate and coffee flavored treats.  I guess it makes him feel grown up. How did you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend?

recipe photo

Spaghetti and Meatballs

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For the meatballs:
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey or beef
2 slices white or wheat bread, toasted and ground fine in the food processor
1/2 a large onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, diced finely
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, and sage)
1/4 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes, optional
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
olive oil

For the sauce:
1 large (28 oz) can of San Marzano or Italian tomatoes
1 can small (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 a large sweet onion, diced finely
2 medium carrots, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, diced finely
1 teaspoon dried Italian Herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, and sage)
1/4 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes, optional
1/4 cup red wine
kosher salt
olive oil

Spaghetti, cooked according to package directions


For the meatballs:
Toast bread and add to a food processor and pulse until fine. Add bread crumbs and all other ingredient to a large mixing bowl. Mix with hands to combine.

Preheat a large skillet. Drizzle with about 1/4 cup olive oil. Add meatballs to skillet by spooning them in one at a time. Or VERY loosely form them in your hands and add to skillet. Fry until browned over medium heat and remove to another pan. (Cook until almost done in the center because you will finish cooking in the sauce.) You may also have to add more oil as you cook all the meatballs.

For the sauce:
In the same skillet you cooked your meatballs in, onions and carrots with a little kosher salt. Cook until tender. Add garlic and cook a little while longer, just until fragrant.

Add canned tomatoes and crape up all the brown bits left on the bottom. Add tomato paste, herbs and hot pepper flakes. Season with salt to taste. Add red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve over pasta.

Top with fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese

All text and images © / Eclectic Recipes
*Nutritional Information is not guaranteed for 100% accuracy.

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  8 Responses to “Spaghetti and Meatballs”

  1. Maria — June 1, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

    Perfect comfort food!

  2. Juliana — June 1, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

    Love it! It is a classic that I never get tired of…great picture!

  3. grace — June 2, 2010 @ 6:55 am

    at 27, i STILL haven’t eaten spaghetti and meatballs! separately, yes, but in the same dish, no. i have to say, the idea of a stuffed meatball is really appealing!
    and wow–i’m surprised your kid has a taste for coffee! i didn’t begin to like the bitter stuff until college (when it became a necessity…). 🙂
    .-= grace´s last blog ..and the moola goes to… =-.

  4. Belinda @zomppa — June 2, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

    That’s funny! I thought only my little sister hated pasta! How can you not like this dish?? It looks amazing! But coffee…I STILL can’t have any – too bitter. Weekend sounds fun.
    .-= Belinda @zomppa´s last blog ..Photo of the Day: Proper English Breakfast =-.

  5. Magic of Spice — June 2, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    Nice classic!
    .-= Magic of Spice´s last blog ..Food Quote =-.

  6. Jessie — June 3, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    Nothing can beat a classic… especially when it’s done so well. Looks delicious… glad I stopped by!!

    .-= Jessie´s last blog ..Skyline Drive and Mountain Lovin’ =-.

  7. restaurant Fort Lauderdale — December 16, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed reading it. Anyway, I also love spaghetti and meat balls. What of my most enjoyed moments is having a warm bowl of this dish with a so hot creamy coffee at the side while I sit at our balcony and wait for the sun top set. The last time I was able to do this was four years ago when I was still staying with my parents. Well, I think I will try this one of these days. Thank you for your recipe.

  8. Hiroko Riede — April 26, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

    Cooks use the terms “horseradish” or “prepared horseradish” to refer to the grated root of the horseradish plant mixed with vinegar. Prepared horseradish is white to creamy-beige in colour. It will keep for months refrigerated but eventually will darken, indicating it is losing flavour and should be replaced. The leaves of the plant, while edible, are not commonly eaten, and are referred to as “horseradish greens”..

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