Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs is my favorite way to make this classic Italian dish. I love homemade spaghetti and meatballs! This is a very rich, thick, and chunky spaghetti sauce your family will love. It is SO easy because you just throw all the ingredients in the crockpot and let it simmer all day!
It is also wonderful reheated and you can use the basic sauce for any Italian recipe that calls for a marinara sauce (although I would probably dice everything fine in that case).
The recipe for the sauce is inspired by the one in the Fanny Farmer cookbook, 1965 edition, but I have made so many changes it is almost unrecognizable. The meatball recipe is straight out of the Fanny Farmer cookbook (same edition) with only a few changes.
We have made homemade Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs countless times over the years including many times for company. It never fails to please.
I originally made this recipe in August of 2012. I remade this recipe in December 2013 and again in June 2017 with gluten free noodles and homemade gluten free bread crumbs. This latest time I served it for our Friday night care group and everyone loved how thick the sauce was.
If you’re looking for a dynamite meatball and spaghetti sauce recipe, give this one a try sometime. You will be licking your chops in no time!
Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs has always been one of our favorite entrees.
You can either add the raw meatballs along with the sauce or bake them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes at 350. You can also can pan-fry the meatballs before adding them to the spaghetti sauce. I’ve made the meatballs all three ways.
However, if you add raw meatballs, you MUST use 96% lean ground beef or the raw meatballs will emit too much grease into the sauce while cooking.
If you use gluten free noodles, I highly recommend using Ronzoni GF spaghetti. It’s made with rice, corn & quinoa flour. It has a great blend for the texture and taste.
Here’s what I did.
I used these ingredients.
Let me say, you don’t always have to be hard line on the ingredients. I make with what I have on hand. But if you want a thick sauce (like I make) you must include the tomato puree and tomato paste. I’ve used all crushed, all diced, or all whole tomatoes before with good success.
Put tomato puree, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste into a crockpot.
Add onions separated into rings. If you buy whole mushrooms, you will need to slice them. Add mushrooms. If using canned mushrooms, drain first. If you like bell pepper in your tomato sauce, you can add it here (although I usually do not add one).
Add garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, parsley, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and bay leaves.
Stir all the sauce ingredients together. Cover with lid and begin cooking on high or low (depending on how soon you want the spaghetti sauce done).
I used these ingredients to make the meatballs.
Melt butter in glass measuring cup. Stir in gluten free (or regular) Italian-style bread crumbs and combine well.
To make meatballs: Place ground sirloin or beef, dehydrated onions, parsley, salt and pepper add buttered breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl.
Mix meatball ingredients with your hands until beef mixture is very well-mixed.
Shape meat mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake meatballs about 20-30 minutes at 350.
Add meatballs and cover with lid. Cook about 3 hours on high, or 4-5 hours on low.
If using raw meatballs: Place raw meatballs into crockpot. You MUST have a 96% lean ground beef or sirloin for this to work, otherwise the meatballs will cook off and there will be too much grease.
If you have less than 96% lean it is better to bake the meatballs about 20-30 minutes first or until browned. Drain any grease and dry off the meatballs before placing in the crockpot to eliminate greasy taste.
Stir all ingredients together in crockpot. Cook on high for about 3 hours and low for 4-6 hours.
The sauce is cooked and ready to be served.
Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs is such an appetizing dinner. Serve with spaghetti noodles or gluten free pasta.
Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs is so easy when you make it in the crockpot.
Here’s the recipe.
ITALIAN SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH MEATBALLS
(Recipe inspired by the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1965 edition)
- 1 29-oz. can tomato puree
- 1 29-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 12-oz. cans tomato paste
- 1 large onion, sliced in rings
- 8-oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
- 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced or minced (I use 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic from a jar)
- 1 heaping tbsp. parsley
- 1 heaping tsp. oregano
- 1 heaping tsp. basil
- 2 heaping tablespoonfuls sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- A few shakes of red pepper flakes, if desired
- 2-3 bay leaves whole
- Put all in a crockpot that has been sprayed with cooking spray and let simmer on high for about 5-6 hours.
- Add meatballs, if desired.
- Or cook on stove top about an hour on a low-medium heat.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
- 1 lb. ground chuck or sirloin (probably better to use meat with less fat and get 90% lean or more)
- 2 tbsp. minced dry onion flakes
- 2 tbsp. dried parsley
- ½-1 tsp. salt
- ¼-1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1 – 1 and ½ cups Italian-style bread crumbs
- Melt butter in microwave.
- Add enough crumbs that mixture is not wet, but not so dry you can’t stir it either.
- Put in large mixing bowl with other ingredients.
- Mix well with hands until well mixed.
- Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray (one with an edge).
- Heat oven to 350°.
- Shape mixture into small meatballs trying to make sure there are no cracks in your meatballs.
- Place on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake about 20 minutes or so until well browned (not burned!).
- Remove from cookie sheets onto paper towels to absorb any excess grease.
- Add to spaghetti sauce and serve with spaghetti.
Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs is absolutely wonderful! Even the gluten free version is spectacular!
We love Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs and believe you will too.