Believe it or not, I’m not a huge fan of meatballs in my spaghetti.  Something about them bothers me, but I can’t really explain what it is.  After a few weeks of wanting to try Ina Garten’s marinara recipe, I decided to make some for dinner. Then I thought I might as well throw some meatballs in the mix too, just to see if I could come up with a recipe I liked.  Of course (no surprise whatsoever) Ina’s marinara was totally delicious – I love that she uses red wine! It’s a little tangy and really hearty and thick.  I decided to just wing it on the meatballs – I mixed ground beef with fresh bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, an egg and salt and pepper.  Very simple and straight forward.  And since I hate standing over a skillet turning splattering meatballs every 2 minutes, I just threw them in the oven for about 25 minutes and they came out perfectly!


Hubby and I really enjoyed our spaghetti and meatballs!  Since the sauce is so robust and full of flavor, I didn’t spice the meatballs up too much – I just let the sauce take care of it.  I’ll most definitely be using this marinara recipe again and again…it’ll most likely be my stand-by marinara in the future!  This was a really (really!) yummy dinner – I’m glad I finally found a meatball that I’d actually want to put in my spaghetti!


1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (3 slices white bread ground up in the food processor)
1 egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined. Roll meat into 1 1/2-2 inch balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and cooked throughout.

Marinara Sauce
-Ina Garten

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.

*I also added about a tablespoon of brown sugar to add a little sweetness




  1. This is my favorite S&M recipe. You’re totally right – the red wine in the sauce gives it so much flavor. I absolutely love it. And the leftovers heat up quite nicely too. Your rendition of the recipe looks super! Way to go Ina 🙂


    Comment by Eliana — September 17, 2009 @ 12:25 PM

  2. I’m not a tremendous fan of meatballs, either. A few years ago, I watched an episode of America’s test Kitchen and they were making meatballs. They soaked a piece of bread in milk and added that to the meat mixture…it made quite a difference!!!!! (That recipe changed my mind about meatballs!)

    This looks absolutely delicious!!!!


    Comment by Jennifer — September 17, 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  3. I’m eating spaghetti right now! Yours definitely looks more presentable 🙂 and I’m sure it tastes amazing. I’m a huge fan of Ina’s as well. I have all her cookbooks and her recipes always turn out!
    I was lazy and just sauteed garlic, onions, ground beef, and added my tomatoes, a can of plum tomates and paste, some spices, a few bay leaves and voila! My bolognaise sauce (not reeeeally spaghetti I guess).
    I’m glad I found your blog -it’s so cute annnd has great recipes. I needed inspiration for tomorrow – think I’ll try your stuffed peppers. Thanks!


    Comment by Marian — September 21, 2009 @ 2:48 PM

  4. Thanks Marian! I’m so glad you like my blog! Let me know how the stuffed peppers turn out!



    Comment by amy — September 21, 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  5. Hi, Darling! Today your Grandfather and I sat down to lunch with a plateful of your wonderful spaghetti and meatballs, and they were delicious!! You are great!
    Love, Nana


    Comment by Nana & Grandaddy — September 22, 2009 @ 3:05 PM

  6. Amy…I just love your blog it is too cute! I am not a huge cook but I try…I can’t wait to try out some of your recipes!


    Comment by Leigh — September 25, 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  7. I also don’t really love meatballs in my spaghetti. I think it is my immense love of pasta, they just get in the way. Also, often times meatballs are so dry. I do enjoy a bolognese or even sausage chunks, just no so much balls of meat.


    Comment by sara — September 29, 2009 @ 3:20 PM

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