Homemade Beef Meatballs in Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti, one of my favourite Italian dishes, and without a shadow of a doubt one of the best dishes I have ever cooked. Comforting, super easy to make, and so delicious, this is the ultimate comfort food that goes down well with the whole family.
Nothing says comfort food the way a plate of spaghetti and meatballs does. You are warned, just in case you think you will only have one portion, this will not happen!
I love beef meatballs, and I believe many people will also agree that they taste the best. Of course, chicken, lamb, pork or any other meat can be used. And there has to be parmesan, without it the dish will not have the same taste of Italy.
Making your own homemade meatballs in tomato sauce is a lot easier than you'd think. Forget about ready-made or frozen meatballs, they will never taste the same. And that's because you can season them the way you like, and add some more simple ingredients that will make them even more delicious.
A bit of salt and pepper, and bit of parmesan, some finely chopped onion and garlic, and they are already divinely delicious. Cook them in a rich and healthy tomato sauce, and you are in for a treat.
- minced beef - ground beef
- grated parmesan cheese
- sea salt & ground black pepper
- olive oil
- chopped tomatoes - or plum tomatoes, slightly squashed
- beef stock - broth
Step-by-step photos and instructions
As promised, this recipe is as delicious as it looks. And bonus point, everything is cooked in one pot! No more cleaning lots of pots afterwards, and the whole dish can be ready in 30-40 minutes. Easy, right?
For the balls
All we need for our meatballs: ground beef, parmesan, salt and pepper, onion and garlic. Mix everything well, and shape into meatballs - l got 15, but you can get more or less depending on the size of the meatballs made. Heat up the oil in a large pan, add the meatballs, and fry gently until lightly brown on both sides.
NOTE! The meatballs won't be cooked through at this stage, they will cook further in the sauce!
For the sauce
Once the meatballs have browned, add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock, parmesan, salt and pepper and bay leaves, and give it a good stir.
Leave to cook with the lid on until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is reduced into a thick sauce that coats the meatballs nicely.
Can you cook raw meatballs in the sauce?
Yes, absolutely! Browning adds more flavour, and colour, but otherwise the meatballs will still be perfectly cooked in the sauce even if you choose to just add them to the pan without browning.
Browning also helps the meatballs not fall apart during cooking, I did not add breadcrumbs to mine and they were absolutely fine. Just make sure you fry them in a non-stick pan, so they can keep their nice shape.
What to serve with meatballs
The obvious choice would be spaghetti - there is something so comforting about spaghetti and meatballs. But any other pasta will do too. Also, they are great with mashed potatoes too. Couscous, bulgur wheat, or basmati rice are also delicious.
Other meatball recipes
And here is our yummy dish, so good, and so easy to make. For more meatball goodness, how about my Mozzarella-Stuffed Pork Meatballs. Or Crockpot Meatball Sliders. Or perhaps Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs Casserole?
My Turkey Meatball Curry might sound strange, but it's utterly delicious! So many choices! Although I also love this yummy soup Healthy Romanian Meatball Soup with Rice. It healthy, quick and so easy to make too. Do give them a try!
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Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
For the meatballs
- 500 g minced beef
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small onion
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the tomato sauce
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes (2x 400g - 2x13oz)
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste, plus parsley to garnish
- Place the minced beef in a large bowl, together with the finely chopped onion and garlic, salt, pepper and parmesan.
- Shape 15 balls out of the mixture.
- Heat up a frying pan and add the oil. Fry the meatballs gently for a few minutes. They will not be cooked through, we just want a bit of colour.
- In a large saucepan, add the chopped tomatoes and beef stock and throw in meatballs. Season with salt and pepper, and add the parmesan too.
- Leave to cook on a medium heat until the meatballs are cooked and the tomato sauce thickens.
- To serve, add spaghetti to a plate and top with the meatballs and sauce and sprinkle with parmesan and chopped parsley if you like.
- Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
- The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.
I would love to try this, especially since you said is one of the best dishes you have ever cooked. I make zucchini meatballs sometimes but I have never had them in this combination, they look amazing.
Thank you, Adina! ?
When the kids were little, they were really picky. I was always trying to sneak veggies into foods they liked. These meatballs sound tasty but also nutritious.
Thank you, Pam!
I love those hidden veggies in the juicy meatballs! And you are right - you can't ever have just one serving of spaghetti and meatballs!
My kids would eat meatballs till they came out of there ears!! I just burnt the Lamb Stew for today so could really do with a huge bowl of this right now lol I'm a baker not a "cooker) that's my excuse any way ..lucky for them I baked a chocolate cake so they'll be having cake for dinner 😉
Jodi @ Create Kids Club
I love this use of zucchini! I still have frozen zucchini in my freezer from last years overflowing garden. I am going to try this soon!
I am sure you'll like the recipe ?
I love the idea of adding Zucchini in the meat balls must have kept them so moist and delish.. The sauce looks so amazing..
Thank you, Veena!
Dene' V. Alexander
Who cares what the meatballs look like as long as they're good, right???! Don't beat yourself up to bad about the shape, these look delish!!
Thank you! Oh they really are delicious! 🙂
Sneaky zucchini! I love it. I always try to use veggies in unusual ways.
These zucchini meatballs look PERFECT. Seriously need them in my life, like, today! Saving this recipe for later. Can't wait!
Adding vegetables in the meatball is a great idea. The meatballs look so juicy and that makes a perfect kids friendly meal.
Using zucchini is such a good idea! I need to make these for dinner!
Thank you, l hope you like the recipe!
Looks juicy and yumm! Makes a great weekend meal!!!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
I've never heard of zucchini meatballs. At first, I thought it was just zucchini and I couldn't figure out how they held up. So you use the squash with meat. What a clever way to extend the meat plus add moisture.They look delicious.
This looks super yum... what a clever way to sneak in some veggies in your kids!! Fantastic ?
Thank you! ?
Haha, I am the same with the sizing of meatballs. I can never get them to be uniformed. Well unless I use a cookie scoop but then that gets messy so random sizes it is. These looks delicious so size is the least of the worry and love the zucchini hiding in there.
Thank you! I'm glad it's not just me ?
Adriana Lopez Martn
Lovely flavorful idea for enjoying any day of the week. I want a bowl now so hungry.
Thank you ?