Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Crazy Cooking Challenge group gets a theme every month and everyone makes the same item, just different variations of it. Last month, there were over seventy submissions for chocolate cake. If you're interested in the Crazy Cooking Challenge, visit Mom's Crazy Cooking to get more information. Tina, the author of Mom's Crazy Cooking, was voted as having the best looking chocolate cake, so visit her blog to see fantastic chocolate cakes as well.


I haven't had spaghetti since I was a little girl. I developed a food allergy when I was in sixth grade that made me really sick when I ate canned tomato products. Since then, I have pretty much steered clear of spaghetti. When this month's Crazy Cooking Challenge was announced: Spaghetti with Red Sauce, I went on the hunt for a recipe that didn't use any sauces, but used just tomatoes. I ran into No Recipes, which is written by Marc, who describes himself as loving food since he could see over the kitchen counter. I loved looking over the recipes in his blog and have pinned recipes such as his Crispy Zucchini Fritters and Strawberry Lemon Bars to make in the future. But I loved that his spaghetti recipe didn't call for any canned tomato ingredients.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
slightly adapted from No Recipes
for meatballs
1/2 medium onion, minced
3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and minced tomatoes (about 1 medium tomato)
12 ounces ground beef
6 ounces ground pork
4 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated
3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

for sauce
5 cloves of garlic minced
1 large onion minced
4 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (about 8 medium tomatoes)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried Italian spices
parsley, minced for garnish
whole wheat spaghetti (measured per individual)

1) Fry the onions and garlic in olive oil until tender and starting to brown. Add the tomatoes then continue frying until there is no liquid left in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
2) In a large bowl, add the beef, pork, ricotta, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan, thyme, parsley, soy sauce, salt and pepper along with the tomato and onion mixture. Put some gloves on and use your hands to knead the mixture together until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
3) Use your hands to roll the meat into 1 1/2″ balls. The mixture will be pretty loose, so if you have trouble forming it into balls, put it in the fridge for a bit to stiffen up.
4) Heat a frying pan up over medium high heat, then add 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry the meatballs in batches, gently rolling them around to maintain their shape until browned on all sides.
5) Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil and set aside for the sauce.
1) Sauté the garlic and onions until translucent in the oil that was set aside from the meatballs.
2) Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and salt then bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
3) Add the meatballs into the tomato sauce along with any collected juices. Turn the heat down to low and gently simmer for 1 hour. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of dried Italian spices.
1) Boil some spaghetti al dente according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, then toss the pasta together with the sauce. Plate the spaghetti, then top each serving with meatballs, minced parsley and parmesan cheese.

I liked this spaghetti a lot.  We had plenty for leftovers, and I believe that the leftovers were much better than the original meal.  The flavors developed deeper as they sat in my fridge.  In the initial meal, you couldn't really taste the garlic, so I've changed the amount in the recipe to reflect what I believe would be a better amount.  The meatballs were great.  I thought that there were maybe too many ingredients and the flavors would be overpowering, but they all worked together.  I'll definitely make this recipe again, especially when tomatoes are in season.

Check out the links below to see additional Spaghetti with Red Sauce recipes:


  1. Yummo! I bet this recipe made a ton!! I hope you'll stop by an visit my CCC - Spaghetti Pie


  2. That looks really good, I bet you are happy to be able to eat spaghetti again. Stopping over from the Crazy Cooking Challenge. Mine is the Baked Spaghetti Lasagna #37.

  3. I'm so glad you found something that didn't require canned tomatoes! It looks really good!

  4. I made spaghetti and meatballs too! Yum, so so good.

  5. I prefer using fresh or frozen tomatoes in my sauce over canned tomato sauce. your recipe looks great!

  6. I love Spaghetti and Meatballs! Some of my favorite pasta dishes. I'm #77 Come and visit me and see my recipe for Spaghetti Pie

  7. Sounds great - so many amazing recipes in this challenge it's almost overwhelming - how can I possibly try them all! #18

  8. Glad you found a recipe that you can eat.....andi

  9. Spaghetti and sauce is a staple in our home, so nice to hear that you've found a recipe that you can enjoy. Your dish looks amazing.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my CCC entry: Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  10. So glad you found a spaghetti sauce you can eat. This one looks great. Stopping by from the Challenge!

  11. Wow! Ricotta in the meatballs? Love it!!
    Jen #19

  12. This sounds wonderful! Never thought to put soy sauce in my meatballs, will have to give this a try.

  13. Cheese in the meatballs seems like a wonderful combination.
    Stopping by from ccc #65. Do visit.

  14. Oh yum! I've never made a sauce using fresh tomatoes before; will have to keep this one in mind once our summer garden gets in full swing. Thanks for sharing the recipe (love that you got the recipe from a blog called "No Recipes") and for stopping by my blog during the CCC!

  15. What a great recipe. I love the meatball recipe too. I'll definitely be making this.

    Please visit me at #30 CCC.


  16. Yummy! I love that this recipe uses whole ingredients.

    Thanks for sharing!

    The Rickett Chronicles

  17. Looks great! I wish I had the patience to make meatballs more often.

  18. This must have been sooooo good with the fresh tomatoes rather than canned! Plus, the meatballs look delicious!

    Tina decided that I hadn't fulfilled the requirements of the challenge, so she excluded me from the linky party. Check out my post and see what you think!

  19. I love the difference between fresh tomatoes and canned so much, that I rarely buy them canned. My dehydrated tomatoes are the closest thing to fresh from the garden and I make sure I have plenty on hand after growing season. And, of course, you have to have a meatball! This sounds great and can't wait to try it. I'm #28. Come visit when you can.

  20. What a great take and what a great way to use all the fresh tomatoes from the garden!

  21. The fresh tomatoes sound great in this recipe. Meat and the sauce sound yummy!

  22. looks delicious, I can't wait to give this recipe a try :) - Cathy Pieroz at Ray White Alexandra Hills