Making Spaghetti With Meatballs

Cooking the meatballs in the sauce enhances the flavor of both the sauce and the meatballs. This classic Italian-American dish is perfectly complemented by a nice glass of California sangiovese. Serves four people.


  1. Heat the butter, olive oil, celery, carrots and onion in a large pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften.
  2. Add the wine and cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Add the tomatoes, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. of the pepper and broth and simmer for two hours. Break up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, if necessary.
  3. Stir the sauce occasionally and watch for signs of drying out. Add more broth if the sauce becomes too dry.
  4. Place the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, basil, egg, 2 tbsp. water, remaining salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  5. Using your hands, form the meat mixture into bite-sized balls.
  6. Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if desired. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. There should be no red showing when a meatball is cut open.
  7. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
  8. Serve in large bowls with pasta on the bottom and some sauce with the meatballs over the top. Sprinkle on some of the parmesan and parsley as well.


  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 1 large egg - beaten
  • 1 large rib of celery - finely chopped
  • 1 lb. spaghetti noodles
  • 1 small onion - peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c. freshly chopped basil
  • 1/4 c. olive (not virgin) oil
  • 2 lbs. plum tomatoes - cored, seeded and diced (or canned tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 medium carrots - peeled and finely chopped
  • 3/4 c. red wine
  • freshly chopped Italian parsley for garnish

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