10 In Italian Inspired/ Meals

An Italian American Classic: Pasta and Meatballs

pasta and meatballs

Oh how I love this recipe. Pasta and Meatballs (traditionally spaghetti and meatballs) can bring a family together in no time.

This is our super secret recipe that needs to be shared.

It started with a basic Provenzano family meatball recipe. But just like anything else the recipe has evolved. The basics are still there, I just modified some things that fit our family’s taste.

For example I like to use panko breadcrumbs instead of Italian breadcrumbs. Instead of Parmigiano I use Toscana Romano Cheese. Sometimes I like to saute the meatballs with olive oil that has a couple of drops of truffle oil.

The other key thing that is just a basic part of the family recipe is the meat. We have always used half beef and half pork. It makes a big difference. I like the meatballs to hold together but still stay tender and moist. I think you get that with the beef and pork combination.

NOTE: I have also included the basic red sauce for the meatballs. Also, if you want to pair this dinner with a tasty desert, it pairs nicely with our Sicilian Pistachio Cake.

Servings: 4

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pasta and meatballs

An Italian American Classic: Pasta and Meatballs

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  • Author: Carrie Pacini
  • Category: Italian Inspired



For Meatballs:
1/2 Pound of beef
1/2 Pound of pork
1/2 Cup of chopped onion
1/2 Cup of chopped celery
1/4 Cup of chopped fresh parsley
2 Teaspoons of minced garlic
1 Teaspoon of Fine sea salt
3 Tablespoons of granted Toscana Romana Cheese or you can use Parmigiano
1/2 Cup of panko breadcrumbs
1 Egg

For Red Sauce:
1 Small White Onion Finely Chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2 each 28 ounce Cans of Chefs Cut or chopped Tomatoes (San Marzano Tomatoes)
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley


Meatball Preparation:
1. In a bowl mix beef, pork, onion, celery, parsley, garlic, sea salt, cheese, panko breadcrumbs, and 1 egg.
2. Form the meat into balls and set aside on parchment paper
3. Add olive oil to the pan and sauté browning the meatballs on both sides in batches (while you are doing this start the red sauce recipe below).


4. Place the meatballs on paper towels to drain as you continue to work with each batch


6. Next add the meatballs to your sauce to let them finish cooking.


Red Sauce Preparation:
5. Add the onions and sauté over moderate heat until they are translucent.
2. Add 2 Cans of Tomatoes and mix together.
3. Add Chicken Bouillon.
4. Bring the sauce to a boil.
5. Add meatballs and incorporate them in the sauce.
6. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover for about 45 minutes, stirring  as needed.


Before serving  adjust salt and pepper to your taste. Toss with your preferred pasta.

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  • Reply
    February 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I tried making my own meatballs a couple of times before, but when it came to frying them they tasted way too fried. how do you think I can get the meatballs cooked with out that oily taste?

    PS. Looks amazing, I’m pinning this to make in the future!

  • Reply
    Carrie Pacini
    February 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    @Aimee With this recipe you are just browning them in Olive Oil and of course draining them on paper towels before they go into the sauce to finish cooking.

    Also using olive oil makes a BIG difference.

    I’ve tried baking the meatballs but we all like this version the best.

    If you get to try the recipe out you might see the difference. Trust me these meatballs are really good!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 2:21 am

    A flavorful meatball in my pasta will always have me wanting a second serving of my pasta. Great post! Hugs!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

    These do look delicious and I’d like to try this recipe – wondering what size of cans of tomaotes you are using – thanks!

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      February 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Joan, I use 28 ounce cans of tomatoes (I added it to the recipe)

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Great recipe. I also suggest drizzling it with Truffle oil you will be in heaven

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      September 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Daria, I agree truffle oil brings it to another level :)

  • Reply
    Jenn Stride
    January 2, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Am currently making these for my husband and 12 year old son. They smell amazing.
    I did add a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce as found that it was a tad too salty for me.
    Normally I make Nigellas’ meatballs, but came across yours by accident.
    I’m glad I did!!
    Many thanks. X

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      January 2, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Hi Jenn, so glad you found my recipe. It’s a bit tricky with the sauce because it all depends on the tomatoes, rather they need sugar or salt. I will add a note to the recipe about that. Hope you all enjoy it!

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