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This recipe for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs is a great way to use your garden tomatoes. It’s a bit time consuming to prepare the fresh tomatoes, but my, oh my, does it smell good in the kitchen. And the taste is buono! 

Add Cooked Spaghetti to the Sauce and Stir to Cover

(Post modified with new photos on 8/8/23.)

There’s something really wonderful to have a pot of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. The smells that escape into the air are divine. And this is an amazing motivator to produce the best meal possible.

Of course, I’m going to encourage you to go ahead and make a batch of homemade pasta (See My Recipe Here) and also a some lovely French bread or breadsticks to soak up the sauce. Afterall, if you’re going to the trouble to make this sauce from scratch, you may as well go all the way with your dinner, right?

Fresh Sauce. Fresh Pasta. Freshly Made Bread. You can do it! 

Make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from Fresh Garden Tomatoes

However, your main assignment here is to prepare the homemade sauce. If you don’t feel up to tackling the rest, that’s okay. Go ahead and use your favorite dried spaghetti.

I recommend De Cecco Spaghetti #12 or Sam’s Choice Italia Bronze Cut Enriched Spaghetti.

 

More Spaghetti Recipes to Enjoy

 

Ingredients for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

(See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.)

  • fresh garden tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sweet onion
  • garlic
  • dry red wine
  • beef bouillon cubes
  • tomato paste
  • bay leaf
  • granulated sugar
  • dried parsley
  • basil
  • dried oregano
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • butter
  • button mushrooms

Meatballs

  • ground beef
  • ground sausage
  • Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • large egg
  • dried minced onion
  • Italian seasoning
  • Favorite dried spaghetti like De Cecco Spaghetti #12 (or Fresh)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Fresh basil

 

Important Tip to Begin – Parboil Your Tomatoes

One tip that will save you a lot of time and frustration is to parboil your fresh tomatoes. Bring a large pot or roaster of water to a boil and add tomatoes to the water. You want enough water to cover the tomatoes in a single layer. Allow to boil for 25-30 seconds or until you see the delicate skin begin to peel. Whichever comes first. Then remove tomatoes from the boiling water with a slotted spoon.

Parboiling Tomatoes and Peeling Skin

Place the hot tomatoes in ice water to stop the cooking. Repeat this process until all the tomatoes have been blanched. You will now be able to easily peel the skins from the tomatoes and dice them for use.

Using a Santoku or Chef’s knife, dice the tomatoes into small pieces. They will cook down in the sauce, but I like to give them a good start by starting small.

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Ingredients for this Recipe

Gather the ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Follow my instructions above for parboiling the tomatoes and dicing them. Measure the diced tomatoes and place in a large saucepot or Dutch oven. You should have about 8 cups of tomatoes.

 

Prepare the Ingredients

Using a cutting board and sharp knife, dice the sweet onion. Mince the garlic.

I prefer to use sweet onion for my recipes simply because I other onions tend to make me cry. My eyes sting so bad I can hardly see, but for some reason, sweet onions do not bother me. If this isn’t a problem for you, go ahead and use a white or yellow onion, if desired.

Chop the Mushrooms

Chop the button mushrooms and place in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

 

Make the Red Tomato Sauce

In a small skillet, saute the prepared sweet onion and minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil for 2-3 minutes.

Add Wine, Tomato Paste and Seasonings to the Tomatoes

Add the dry red wine, beef bouillon cubes, tomato paste, and granulated sugar to the tomatoes.

When selecting a dry red wine for this sauce, remember to always cook with a wine that you enjoy drinking. For this recipe I like to use a Chianti, Merlot, or Beaujolais, which all go well with red sauce. 

Add Onions and Garlic to the Sauce

Season the sauce with a bay leaf, dried parsley, basil, and oregano, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add the sauted onion and garlic to the diced tomatoes.

Heat the large saucepot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to a simmer and continue cooking for 60-90 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.

Simmer Sauce for up to 3 Hours

Once the sauce has cooked for up to 90 minutes, remove the lid from the sauce and cook uncovered for another 90 minutes, stirring more frequently.

Allowing the sauce to cook uncovered helps the liquid to reduce, but also deepens the flavor. Mmm, so good!  

 

Prepare the Meatballs

At this point, it’s time to make the meatballs. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mixing the Meatballs by Hand with our Grandson

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and ground sausage, Italian seasoned bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, a large egg, dried minced onion, and Italian seasoning. Mix with a large pastry fork, or use your hands–which is how we do it.

If you have children or grandchildren, be sure to get them involved in making meatballs. It’s a great opportunity to work with them on measuring ingredients, and they love mixing them up. 

Cook Meatballs Until They Are Cooked Inside

You may have noticed my other spaghetti dishes include a slow-cooked meat sauce as well as mighty (aka giant) meatballs. For this recipe, we decided to make the meatballs small, which is more authentic to an Italian dinner.

Our grandchildren enjoy making meatballs big. In the end, it’s your choice how you make them — big or small. For this recipe, we used a Vollrath 3/4 oz purple scoop (Size 40), which worked really well to form the meatballs. 

Form the meatballs with your hands or a small scoop and roll into small balls, about the size of golf balls, or smaller. Place in a greased oblong baking pan.

I prefer to use a glass baking pan as cleanup seems to go a bit better with glass verses metal.

Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until done.

Add Meatballs to the Sauce

When the meatballs have browned, add them to the sauce.

 

Finish the Spaghetti Sauce

To finish the sauce, I like to add chopped mushrooms that have been melted in butter. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you may omit this step, but I encourage you to at least try it, as it adds even more wonderful flavor to the sauce.

Add Sauted Mushrooms to the Sauce

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Saute the chopped mushrooms until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cooked meatballs to your sauce and stir to combine.

 

Prepare the Spaghetti

Making Pasta

At this point you’re nearing the finish line. It’s time to cook the spaghetti. Place water in a large stockpot along with a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Cook pasta to al dente, according to boxed directions.

If you’re motivated, prepare my Homemade Pasta while your sauce begins cooking. That will give the pasta plenty of time to dry. Remember that fresh pasta does not require a lot of time to cook, perhaps as little at 3 minutes. 

Begin dishing up the dinner, by placing the meatballs in a large serving bowl.

 

Add Spaghetti to the Sauce and Stir to Coat

When the pasta has reached al dente, transfer spaghetti with a pasta scoop to the sauce. Gently stir until the sauce has coated all or most of the spaghetti.

Place Meatballs and Spaghetti with Sauce in Serving Bowls

Place spaghetti in a second large serving bowl.

A few years ago, I learned that spaghetti and meatballs isn’t a common dish that you would find in Italy, and if you did, it would be served separately, with the spaghetti served first and then the meatballs. Here in America, I like to serve them in separate bowls, but at the same time. It’s what we like, and it’s quite delicious. 

Serve Spaghetti and Meatballs with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil to Garnish

Serve this Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs nice and hot, with warm breadsticks and freshly grated parmesan. If desired, garnish with fresh basil.

Since you’re making this fantastic homemade Italian dinner, you may as well add a dessert to the menu. Go ahead. Do it! You won’t believe the sense of accomplishment it will bring you.

Wine Recommendation: Serve Homemade Spaghetti with your favorite Chianti, Merlot, or Beaujolais.

See more Italian Dinner Recipes Here. Browse Yeast Breads Here.

 

Featured Image - Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs is a great way to use your garden tomatoes. It’s a bit time consuming to prepare the fresh tomatoes, but my, oh my, does it smell good in the kitchen. And the taste is buono!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Serving Size 10

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Ingredients 

Spaghetti Sauce

  • 8 cups 3 pounds red tomatoes (parboiled, peeled, cored and diced)
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup fresh garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 cubes beef bouillon
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups button mushrooms (chopped)

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground hamburger
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 20 oz favorite dried spaghetti (cooked according to package directions)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • fresh basil (to garnish)

Instructions

Begin By Parboiling the Tomatoes

  • Bring a large pot or roaster of water to a boil and add tomatoes to the water. You want enough water to cover the tomatoes in a single layer. Allow to boil for 25-30 seconds or until you see the delicate skin begin to peel. Whichever comes first. Then remove tomatoes from the boiling water with a slotted spoon.
  • Place the hot tomatoes in ice water to stop the cooking. Repeat this process until all the tomatoes have been blanched. You will now be able to easily peel the skins from the tomatoes and dice them for use.
  • Using a Santoku or Chef’s knife, dice the tomatoes into small pieces. They will cook down in the sauce, but I like to give them a good start by starting small.
  • Measure the diced tomatoes and place in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. You should have about 8 cups of tomatoes.

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Gather the ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table
  • Using a cutting board and sharp knife, dice the sweet onion. Mince the garlic.
  • Chop the button mushrooms and place in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Make the Sauce

  • In a medium skillet over medium heat saute the diced onion and minced garlic in the extra virgin olive oil. Cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the diced tomatoes. Then add the dry red wine, beef bouillon cubes, tomato paste, and granulated sugar.
  • Season the sauce with a bay leaf, dried parsley, basil, and oregano, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Heat the large saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for a few minutes and then lower the temperature to a simmer. Continue cooking for 60-90 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the sauce has cooked for up to 90 minutes, remove the lid from the sauce and cook uncovered for another 90 minutes, stirring more frequently.

Prepare the Meatballs

  • While sauce is cooking, prepare meatballs. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground sausage, Italian-seasoned bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, large egg, dried minced onion, and Italian seasoning. Mix well with a fork or your hands.
  • Roll into balls the size of golf balls or use a small cookie scoop (3/4 oz) to make the meatballs. Place in greased oblong baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until done.

Finish the Sauce

  • To finish the sauce, melt butter in a small skillet, and saute the chopped mushrooms until tender for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms to the spaghetti sauce along with the cooked meatballs. Cook sauce for an additional 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Prepare the Spaghetti

  • Prepare your favorite dried spaghetti according to package instructions or double my Homemade Pasta Recipe Here.
  • Place water in a large stockpot along with a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Cook pasta to al dente, according to boxed directions. Cook to al dente.
  • Begin dishing up the dinner, by placing the meatballs in a large serving bowl.
  • When the pasta has reached al dente, transfer spaghetti with a pasta scoop to the sauce. Gently stir until the sauce has coated all or most of the spaghetti. Place spaghetti in a second large serving bowl.
  • Serve spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesan, French Bread or Soft Bread Sticks. Serves 8-10.

Notes

*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter on this recipe site is salted.
**Wine Recommendation: Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages

Nutrition

Calories: 612kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 816mg | Potassium: 968mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1405IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 4mg

 

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