Spaghetti and Meatballs

With three kinds of meat, these balls might just be the most flavourful and juicy in all the land.

Matty Matheson

Matty Matheson

Photo by Heami Lee

Servings: 8
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: about 2 hours


for the marinara sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups tomato puree
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 fresh bay leaves

for the meatballs:
3 slices day old (or older) white bread
1/4 cup|60 ml whole milk
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
1 tablespoon crushed chili flakes
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
canola oil, for greasing

to serve:
1 pound spaghetti
minced parsley
freshly grated parmesan cheese


1. Make the marinara sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium. Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and continue to cook until the color deepens into a dark red and raw, “tinny” taste disappears, about 5 minutes. Pour in the tomato puree, sugar, and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 1 hour, then keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, make the meatballs: In a large bowl and using your hands, tear the white bread into small pieces. Pour the milk over and mix to form a wet bread crumb. Add the meats, cheeses, breadcrumbs, olive oil, chili flakes, pepper, salt, and eggs. Work mixture with your hands until evenly combined.

3. Rub a few drop of canola oil into the palm of your hands, then form a golf ball-sized
ball from the meat mixture. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meat mixture, reapplying more canola oil to your hands as needed to avoid sticking.

4. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil a large skillet over high. Working in batches, sear the meatballs until deep brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Remove the balls from pan and immediately place into pot of simmering marinara sauce until cooked through, about 1 hour.

5. To serve, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain, the transfer the spaghetti to a large serving platter. Top with the meatballs and marinara sauce and garnish with parsley and grated parmesan cheese.