I think Spaghetti and Meatballs has been type cast as kid food, which is a real tragedy in my opinion. Yes, kids love bowls full of noodles and sauce and large orbs of tasty, tender meat. But also, there is nothing more homey, satisfying, and sublime to my adult palette then the flavor of rich sauce, buttery noodles, and well-executed meatballs.
The problem with most meatballs is they tend to be tough in texture, bland in flavor, and cumbersome in execution. Today I am here to redeem this dinner classic and deliver a tender, melting meatball full of nuanced layers of flavor, and without the headache of standing over a frying pan spattering grease in every direction.
To begin, if you are even a little bit interested in learning to make delicious meatballs at home, I would encourage you to purchase the video lesson in my shop. Let’s Learn Spaghetti and Meatballs will guide you through each step of the process from preparing the ingredients (and why each one matters) to forming the balls (and how to prevent them from being tough) to cooking them to golden brown perfection. The lesson really is worth your time.
In any case, even if you simply follow the recipe as written, you will be rewarded with meatballs that will remind you why this dish is a classic. As a bonus (and the recipes states this as well), homemade meatballs freeze like a dream. I always like knowing that if I am going to the trouble to make something from scratch, I will be rewarded down the road with another dinner waiting for me in the freezer.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
for the meatballs…
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 pounds ground turkey
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
- 3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
- 2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to the package directions
- 2 28-ounce jars Rao's Marinara Sauce
- If possible, allow the ground turkey and Italian sausage to sit out at room temperature for about an hour before you begin. This is not mandatory, but it will make the meat easier to work with and it will combine more easily with the other ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- In a large bowl, combine the beaten eggs and milk. Add the salt, onion powder, and crushed red pepper flakes, and stir until well combined. Stir in the panko, Parmesan, and garlic.
- Add the ground turkey, sausage, and chopped prosciutto to the egg mixture. Using your hands, gently, slowly, and carefully mix the ground turkey, Italian sausage and prosciutto into the liquid ingredients. Do not mash the meats together. Use a raking motion and take your time creating a mixture that is even and light. Once the mixture looks combined, begin forming meatball.The ideal size, in my opinion, is like a large golf-ball. However, you really can make these as small or as large as you like. As you form them, place them evenly on a sheet tray (no parchment needed).
- Once all of the meatballs are formed, brush each one with a bit of olive oil. Bake the meatballs for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through and slightly brown in some spots.
- If you are serving the meatballs immediately, they can be added to your sauce, or served on the side. If you are making these in advance, you can store the baked meatballs and then reheat them gently in the same pan as the sauce.
- Freezing Notes…If you are freezing the meatballs for future use, allow the cooked meatballs to cool. Then line them up in a gallon freezer bag, squeeze all of the air out, and store them in your freezer. When you want to serve them, allow them to thaw overnight. Gently reheat in the sauce and serve!
- Sauce Notes…If you do not have access to Rao’s Marinara Sauce, or if you are interested in making your own sauce, my favorite recipe is listed below. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. It is fantastic!2 28-oz cans tomato puree10 tablespoons unsalted butter2 onions, peeled, halved, but with the root still in tact2 teaspoons Kosher saltPlace the tomatoes, butter, and onions in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Allow to gently bubble for 45 minutes, uncovered. Remove the onion and discard. Add the salt and stir to combine.