ATK Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

This recipe is untested

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients for Meatballs

  • 2 slices white sandwich bread (crusts discarded), torn into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or 6 tablespoons plain yogurt thinned with 2 tablespoons sweet milk
  • 3/4 pound ground beef chuck (or 1 pound if omitting ground pork below)
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil if frying

Ingredients for Tomato Sauce


For the meatballs: Combine bread and buttermilk in small bowl, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes.

Mix all meatball ingredients, including bread mixture in medium bowl. Lightly form 3 tablespoons of mixture into 1 1/2-inch round meatballs; repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 14 meatballs.

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot for cooking pasta.

Baking or Frying?

Baking: Preheat oven to 400 F. Place meatballs on a sheet pan and spray with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook until heated through,

Frying: Heat 1/4 -inch vegetable oil over medium-high heat in 10- or 11-inch sauté pan. When edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles, add meatballs in single layer. Fry, turning several times, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, regulating heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking. Transfer browned meatballs to paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Repeat, if necessary, with remaining meatballs.

Directions for sauce

Discard oil in pan, leaving behind any browned bits. Add olive oil along with garlic; sauté, scraping up any browned bits, just until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes, bring to boil, and simmer gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil; add salt and pepper to taste.

Add meatballs and simmer, turning them occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Keep warm over low flame.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente, drain, and return to pot. Ladle several large spoonfuls of tomato sauce (without meatballs) over spaghetti and toss until noodles are well coated. Divide pasta among individual bowls and top each with a little more tomato sauce and 2 to 3 meatballs. Serve immediately with grated cheese passed separately.

My recipe

3/4 lb beef
1/4 lb pork
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup + 2 T parmesan
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 T parsley
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt