Spaghetti and Meatballs

I’ve always wanted to try to make my own meatballs. The ones in the package from Costco are OK, but I’ve never really liked them that much. The ones that I’ve had at restaurants are usually really good. The Aidells brand meatballs that are at Costco sometimes are good, but there are only so many meatballs you can eat… Most of the meatball recipes which I found online use a mix of ground beef, pork and lamb. I didn’t really want to buy that much meat just to make meatballs, especially since I don’t know how the dish will turn out.

Spaghetti and Meat Balls 3

Mike actually helped make the meatballs, but then he had to do something else, so I had to do the rest of the recipe. It actually wasn’t hard to make.  These meatballs are pretty big.  They may not all fit in the skillet at the same.  You may have to work in batches when browning the meatballs.The only problem is that I need bigger pots and pans. 

Spaghetti and Meat Balls 2

Also, the recipe uses 3 cans of diced tomatoes. 2 cans are pureed in a food processor so that there are no tomato chunks (I used my Vitamix of course) and one is left alone so that the sauce will have tomato chunks. When Mike brought home his lunch container, I noticed that he had picked out all of the tomato chunks. Sigh. If I’d known, I would’ve just pureed all 3 cans instead of wasting all of those good tomatoes!  I personally prefer the chunks of tomatoes, but if this will be served to someone who does not like chunks of tomatoes, puree all three cans of tomatoes when making the sauce.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced, divided use
  • ½ + ⅛ teaspoon salt, or more to taste, divided use
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, or more to taste, divided use
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, divided use
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  1. In a large bowl, combine the panko, milk, Parmesan cheese, parsley, 2 cloves of garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Add the ground turkey and mix together well. Divide the turkey mixture into 12 equal portions and create a round meatball from each portion. Meatballs will be approximately 1½ inches in diameter.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown them on all sides, about 10 minutes (the meatballs will not be cooked through). Line a plate with paper towels, and place the meatballs on this plate. Do not drain the fat from the skillet.
  3. Use a food processor or blender to puree 2 cans of diced tomatoes until they are smooth.
  4. Add the onions and ⅛ teaspoon salt to the skillet which was used to cook the meatballs. Cook the onions over medium heat until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the pureed tomatoes and the remaining can of diced tomatoes to the skillet. and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs, cover and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the pasta in a large pot according to the instructions on the package. Reserve ½ cup of the water used to cook the pasta, prior to draining it.
  7. Return the pasta to the pot used to cook it. Once the meatballs have finished cooking, add the reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time to the sauce if it is too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Add several spoonfuls of the sauce to the pasta so that the pasta is well coated in sauce.
  9. Place pasta into bowls and top with meatballs. Add more sauce to each bowl if desired. Top each bowl with basil and serve immediately.

Adapted from  Comfort Food Makeovers

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