Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

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Bowl full of Spaghetti and Meatballs garnished with fresh basil
Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs make a super tasty meal. Spaghetti sauce is not difficult to make and this sauce freezes very well so it is great to have on hand when needed. Likewise, meatballs are not difficult to make either and they also freeze well. So, this is a great make-ahead meal to have on hand when the tastebuds crave a Spaghetti and Meatballs meal. It’s simply a matter of thawing and reheating the sauce and meatballs and cooking up a pot of spaghetti.

Spaghetti Sauce

Making this sauce takes a bit of time but it is mostly hands-off except for the occasional stirring. A carefully curated list of quality ingredients (especially seasonings) and low and slow cooking are the keys to making this a flavorful sauce.

This sauce starts off with the basic flavor base of onion, carrot, and celery cooked in oil and butter. I use the standard ratio for the mirepoix – that is, 2:1:1 of onion to carrot and celery. I also add a small amount of red pepper for additional flavor though green pepper could certainly be used or the pepper could be left out altogether. The amount of minced garlic used is according to personal preference. I usually use 4-5 cloves depending on their size. Add more or less according to your taste for garlic.

After the vegetables have softened, it’s basically a matter of adding and stirring in the remainder of the ingredients (excluding the Parmesan cheese, milk, and fresh parsley which are added later in the process). I cook the sauce at a very low simmering temperature. It will appear quite watery at first but it will reduce and thicken over time. I typically cook the sauce for about 2 – 2½ hours to allow the flavors to develop and intensify, then add the Parmesan cheese, milk, and chopped fresh parsley and let the sauce simmer for another 15-20 minutes. The Parmesan cheese and milk contribute lovely flavor to this sauce and add a bit of creamy texture.

Pot full of bright red tomato and cheese-based Spaghetti Sauce
Spaghetti Sauce

The actual length of cooking time will, of course, depend on the temperature at which the sauce is cooked as well as the desired consistency of the finished sauce. I tend to like a fairly thick, full-bodied sauce that will cling to the pasta and meatballs as opposed to a thinner, more runny sauce….but that is just a personal preference.

If you like the sauce a bit chunky, leave as is. If you like a smoother sauce, either use an immersion blender or standard blender to purée the sauce to desired consistency.

The exact amount of the sauce is difficult to predict as it depends on the consistency of the Passata and canned crushed tomatoes used and how much the sauce is cooked down and thickened. On average, I get between 3½ – 4 cups of sauce from this recipe.

Bright red spaghetti sauce ready for the spaghetti
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Whether you make a batch of the Spaghetti Sauce specifically to have on hand in the freezer or you have sauce leftover from serving, know that this sauce freezes very well. I generally let it rest, covered, in the refrigerator for a day or two before freezing it in airtight containers of desired serving size. This rest period allows the flavors of the sauce to fully develop.

While I call this Spaghetti Sauce, it is also very tasty on other kinds of pasta too, so don’t reserve it just for spaghetti!

Meatballs

For my meatball recipe, I use a mix of ground beef and sausage meat. The recipe is flexible in that, all beef can be used, it can be made with half beef and half sausage meat, or any other ratio of the two meats. I most often use 50% beef and 50% sausage meat. I like to use either Honey Garlic or Sweet Italian sausages in this recipe as they add extra flavor. That said, other flavors of sausages or, indeed, plain sausages can be used.

I find meatballs, without some flavor boosters, can be quite bland. My recipe calls for several seasonings that give these meatballs lots of flavor.

The method for making meatballs is not difficult – it’s basically a matter of adding all the ingredients into a big bowl and mixing them very well. I find the hands are the best mixers for meatballs though a large mixing spoon or wooden spoon could be used. Whatever is used, it’s important that the ingredients are well mixed.

Insofar as the size of meatballs is concerned, that’s a matter of preference. The ones in the photos that accompany this post were formed with about ¾ ounce of the meatball mixture. If you want them larger, add more of the mixture. I wouldn’t go much, if any smaller, than the ¾ ounce size unless using them for cocktail meatballs. From this recipe, I usually get between 40-42 meatballs of the ¾ ounce size.

Meatballs can be cooked via different cooking methods. Use your preferred method, if you wish. I normally line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and bake them in a 400°F oven until they are no longer pink on the inside and they test 165°F on an instant read thermometer. Using this method, make sure that ample space is allotted between the meatballs on the baking sheet to allow them to cook evenly.

These meatballs freeze and reheat very well so are convenient to have on hand in the freezer whether you use them in this Spaghetti and Meatball recipe or in other sauce recipes.

Bowl of spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce and garnished with fresh basil leaves
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Serving

From the entire recipe, 7-8 servings should result but this is dependent on several factors including: Amount of spaghetti, number and size of meatballs, and how much sauce is desired per serving.

A good general guideline of per serving size is to allot about 2 oz dry/uncooked spaghetti pasta (equals approximately 1 cup cooked) per serving, approximately ½ cup (plus or minus) of spaghetti sauce, and about 5 meatballs of the size indicated in the recipe that accompanies this post. This, of course, is just a guide.

Bowl of Spaghetti and a loaf of artisan bread and a glass of red wine
Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs

To plate individual servings, put a smeared dollop of sauce in the center of each plate or shallow spaghetti bowl. Toss the cooked spaghetti and meatballs with enough sauce to coat, reserving some sauce to dollop on top of the plated spaghetti. Transfer the spaghetti and meatballs to plates or spaghetti bowls. Add a spoonful of sauce to the top of the spaghetti followed by a generous sprinkle of finely grated Parmesan cheese and some cut-up and whole fresh Basil leaves to garnish. If desired, drizzle olive oil around edges of spaghetti on each plate or bowl. Serve hot and enjoy.

Bowl of Spaghetti and Meatballs dressed with grated parmesan cheese, fresh Basil leaves, and a splash of olive oil
Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:

3 tbsp oil
1 – 1½ tbsp butter
2/3 cup finely diced onion
1/3 cup finely diced carrot
1/3 cup finely diced celery
¼ cup finely diced red or green pepper (optional)
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups Passata
¼ cup tomato paste
14 oz/398ml can crushed tomatoes
¾ cup chicken or beef stock or broth
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1½ tbsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf
2 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground fennel (or ¼ tsp crushed fennel seeds)
Pinch cloves
½ tsp fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup milk
1½ tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Method:

Heat oil then melt the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Reduce heat slightly and add the celery and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes then add the onions, cooking for about 2 minutes before adding the pepper and then cook (stirring continuously) for about 2-3 minutes longer. Add the minced garlic and stir quickly for about 20-30 seconds. Do not let garlic scorch.

Add the Passata, tomato paste, canned crushed tomatoes, chicken or beef stock or broth, dry red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar along with the seasonings. Bring mixture just to the point of boiling then immediately reduce heat to a low, gentle simmer. Cook sauce slowly, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until it has reduced and thickened, approximately 2 – 2½ hours.

Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese has melted and blended into the sauce. Add the milk and parsley and stir well. Let mixture simmer for a further 15-20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Use an immersion blender (or standard blender) to purée sauce to desired consistency.

Sauce freezes well.

Yield: Approximately 3½ – 4 cups

Meatballs

Ingredients:

¾ lb ground beef
¾ lb sausage meat (casings removed)

¾ cup breadcrumbs, medium grind
½ cup diced onion
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/16 tsp ground fennel (or 1/8 tsp crushed fennel seeds)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1½ tsp liquid beef or chicken bouillon

Method:

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400°.

Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Crumble ground beef and sausage meat into a large bowl. Add remainder of ingredients and mix very well to blend. Shape mixture into balls, apx. ¾ oz each, and place on prepared baking sheet, allowing ample space in between meatballs to permit them to cook evenly.

Bake until meat is no longer pink and internal temperature of meatballs reaches 165°F, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Serve with spaghetti and sauce.

Yield: Apx. 40-42 meatballs

Note 1: There are various methods for cooking meatballs and these meatballs can be cooked by methods other than oven baking as indicated in the recipe.

Note2: Meatballs of a different size than indicated in this recipe and/or that are cooked via other methods may require different cooking times.

If you have made these recipes and enjoyed them and/or wish to share them with your friends, please do so on social media and share the direct link to this posting from my website.

Bowl of Spaghetti and Meatballs, a loaf of artisan bread, and a glass of red wine on the table
Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs
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Spaghetti Sauce

This easy-to-make full-bodied homemade Spaghetti Sauce has a lovely thick texture and is packed full of flavor. While it is fabulous on spaghetti, this versatile sauce can be served with other pasta, too.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword spaghetti sauce
Servings 8
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 – 1½ tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/3 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • ¼ cup finely diced red or green pepper (optional)
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Passata
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 14 oz /398ml can crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ cup chicken or beef stock or broth
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp ground fennel (or ¼ tsp crushed fennel seeds)
  • Pinch cloves
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup milk
  • tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat oil then melt the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Reduce heat slightly and add the celery and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes then add the onions, cooking for about 2 minutes before adding the pepper and then cook (stirring continuously) for about 2-3 minutes longer. Add the minced garlic and stir quickly for about 20-30 seconds. Do not let garlic scorch.
  2. Add the Passata, tomato paste, canned crushed tomatoes, chicken or beef stock or broth, dry red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar along with the seasonings. Bring mixture just to the point of boiling then immediately reduce heat to a low, gentle simmer. Cook sauce slowly, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until it has reduced and thickened, approximately 2 – 2½ hours.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese has melted and blended into the sauce. Add the milk and parsley and stir well. Let mixture simmer for a further 15-20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  4. Use an immersion blender (or standard blender) to purée sauce to desired consistency.
  5. Sauce freezes well.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Approximately 3½ - 4 cups

Meatballs

Baked Meatballs made with a combination of ground beef and sausage meat are packed with lovely flavor. Perfect served with spaghetti and sauce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword meatballs
Servings 8
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • ¾ lb ground beef
  • ¾ lb sausage meat (casings removed)
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs, medium grind
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/16 tsp ground fennel (or 1/8 tsp crushed fennel seeds)
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • tsp liquid beef or chicken bouillon

Instructions

  1. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Crumble ground beef and sausage meat into a large bowl. Add remainder of ingredients and mix very well to blend. Shape mixture into balls, apx. ¾ oz each, and place on prepared baking sheet, allowing ample space in between meatballs to permit them to cook evenly.
  4. Bake until meat is no longer pink and internal temperature of meatballs reaches 165°F, approximately 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve with spaghetti and sauce.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 40-42 meatballs

Note 1: There are various methods for cooking meatballs and these meatballs can be cooked by methods other than oven baking as indicated in the recipe.

Note2: Meatballs of a different size than indicated in this recipe and/or that are cooked via other methods may require different cooking times.

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Big Bowl of Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs Garnished with Fresh Basil and Grated Parmesan Cheese
Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs
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