In a hurry? Got no time to make spaghetti and meatballs? I’m here to tell you that you do. Here’s a recipe that could revolutionize your world. It’s a total game-changer, this one. That is, if you love spaghetti and meatballs, and in my fantasy world that would be everyone.
Spahgetti and me go way back. My love for it is legendary (within our family lore, anyway). From the time I could put fork to mouth, all I wanted was spaghetti. Every dinner, every restaurant, no matter where we were, that’s all I wanted. I still make it with alarming frequency, and after all these years I never tire of it. Me and spaghetti, we’re tight. Add a meatball, and this is a happy girl.
I really don’t care how long it takes me to make it, but I recently came across this recipe in a magazine devoted to pasta recipes (what else?), and I was quickly infatuated with it. The whole idea is that you take all of your sauce ingredients and just dump them in a roasting pan, make your meatballs and set them on top, and then shove the whole shootin’ match in the oven for like 45 minutes. What emerges from said oven is nothing short of spaghetti nirvana.
The meatballs roast and flavor the sauce ingredients, and the sauce simmers and flavors the meatballs and it’s all so very easy. The meatballs are removed from the pan, the sauce ingredients are run through the blender and then everyone is re-united for the big spaghetti finale. I just love stuff like this.
So here’s the deal. You put everything together the night before and stick it in the fridge. When you get home from work, just throw it in the oven, cook your pasta and you have perhaps some of the best spaghetti and meatballs in recent history. Well, that may be debatable, but I’m purdy sure you’re going to like how easy this is. Easy and delicious are my two favorite things. Here’s the recipe…
P.S. Please the update added at the end of this post.
Oven-Roasted Spaghetti and Meatballs
This is such a great, easy recipe and we make it often. I've added an update at the end of the post with my most recent changes. Enjoy!
For the Sauce
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1 14-0z diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp crushed red pepper
a good handful of chopped fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 lb. spaghetti
Parmesan cheese for mixing and serving
For the Meatballs
1 ½ lbs ground meat (I used ground turkey)
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425.
Place the sauce ingredients in an 11 x 13 roasting or baking pan, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands. Mix to combine all the ingredients.
Combine the meatballs ingredients and form into ball about the size of a golf ball and place on top of the sauce ingredients. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the olive oil and a sprinkling or grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.
Place in a preheated oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes, turning the meatballs about halfway through.
While the sauce and meatballs are cooking, cook the spaghetti in lots of boiling, salted water until al dente (about a minute less than indicated on the package). Drain, but do not rinse.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove the meatballs from the pan, but keep warm. Puree the sauce ingredients using an immersion blender or a regular blender or food processor. If using a regular blender, you will want to do this in 2 batches. Return the pureed sauce to the roasting pan and add the spaghetti. Stir to combine, mixing in additional parmesan cheese.
Serve with the meatballs and more grated parmesan as desired.
We've made this fabulous spaghett so many times over the years, and I thought I'd post a couple of changes that I've made. Firstly, this is so easy, just mixing the sauce ingredients right in the pan, but even so, I find that the onion doesn't get cooked enough for our tastes. So before adding the ingredients to the baking pan, I saute the onion and garlic and puree the tomatoes and then mix it all together, adding the meatballs before roasting.
When it's done cooking, I remove the meatballs and about half of the sauce (no need to puree at this point) and add the cooked spaghetti to the pan. If more sauce is needed, I usually add that when serving, but you can judge how much sauce you like on your pasta.
I also substitute 1/2 lb Italian sausage for part of the ground meat. So good.
One more thing... don't be stingy with the olive oil. I give it all a hearty drizzle before baking and then a little more before serving, along with lots of grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese.