Spaghetti and Meatballs: A Delicious Journey through Italian-American Cuisine

Total time: 35min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

Spaghetti and meatballs, a classic Italian-American dish, has become a staple in many households around the world. The combination of tender meatballs nestled in a bed of perfectly cooked pasta, topped with a rich tomato sauce, is simply irresistible. But have you ever wondered about the origins and rich history behind this mouthwatering recipe? Join us on a journey as we explore the roots of spaghetti and meatballs and provide tips on how to perfect this beloved dish.

Tracing the origin of the iconic recipe 

The roots of spaghetti and meatballs can be traced back to the Italian immigrants who settled in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These immigrants brought with them their traditional Italian recipes, which gradually evolved to incorporate American ingredients and cooking techniques. Meatballs, a popular dish in Italy, were traditionally served on their own or with a simple tomato sauce. However, in America, they became synonymous with spaghetti, creating the iconic combination we know today.


How to achieve the perfect spaghetti and meatballs every time 

Perfecting spaghetti and meatballs requires attention to detail and a few tried-and-true techniques. First, let's start with the meatballs. A combination of ground beef, veal, and pork creates a flavorful and tender texture. Be sure to mix the meat with breadcrumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese, herbs like parsley and oregano, and seasonings such as garlic and onion powder. Gently shape the mixture into balls, ensuring they are evenly sized for consistent cooking.

When it comes to the sauce, a slow-simmered tomato base is key. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until fragrant, then add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and a touch of sugar to balance the acidity. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs like basil and thyme. For added depth, some chefs even incorporate red wine or a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Cooking the spaghetti to perfection is an art in itself. Boil a pot of generously salted water and add the pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Follow the package instructions for the suggested cooking time but aim for al dente, where the pasta still has a slight bite. Remember to reserve a cup of the starchy pasta water before draining, as it can be used to adjust the consistency of the sauce.


To serve

Plate the spaghetti, top it with the meatballs and ladle on the sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. The combination of flavours and textures will tantalise your taste buds and transport you to a cosy Italian trattoria.

Spaghetti and meatballs have come a long way, blending Italian traditions with American influences. Today, it remains a beloved comfort food that brings families and friends together. So, whether you're a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned cook, take the time to perfect this classic dish. Embrace the rich history behind spaghetti and meatballs and create your own culinary masterpiece to savour and share with loved ones.


Minced beef
minced pork or pork sausagee
Stale bread
Parmesan cheese
sprig of thyme
Garlic clove
Bread crumbs
salt and pepper
tomato passata
Extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp
Garlic clove
handful basil leaves


In a medium-large pot,heat up olive oil, then add garlic and fry until golden.

Remove the clove and add the tomato passata.

Add salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer for about 20 min.

Switch off the flame and add a few basil leaves in the infusion.

Now, let’s roll some meatballs…

Pour the milk in a bowl and soak your stale bread for 10 to 15 min.

In a separate bowl add and mix the ingredients thoroughly by hand.(incl.soaked bread)

Let it rest in the fridge for 15 min.

Then take the meatball mix and roll it into 50-60g balls.

Pan fry them in olive oil 3-4 min on each side.

Time to combine

Cook your pasta in salted boiling water.

In the meantime, heat up your tomato sauce and add your meatballs in it.

Strain your pasta and add it to the sauce.

Combine all together.

Serve it with a sprinkle of parmigiano and basil.

Buon appetito!

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