My mother-in-law learned to make these savory meatballs while visiting the home of her Italian aunt in New York when she was in the eighth grade. The first time I bit into one of her (HUGE), moist, tender meatballs, I was in for a heavenly treat! Not surprisingly, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs is one of my husband’s favorite meals. This is one of those times when it’s perfectly okay to like it just-like-mama-makes. 🙂

I’m happy to say that I finally (after nearly eight years of marriage) learned the art of recreating one of my mother-in-law’s most requested dishes. These meatballs really are simple to prepare and are absolutely out-of-this-world-delicious!

Authentic Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 lb ground beef

1 medium onion, diced fine
1 C homemade bread crumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I usually omit this since my husband doesn’t care for the spice)
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 egg
2 to 3 TBSP olive oil
Spaghetti sauce
Angel hair whole grain or brown rice pasta

Pour olive oil into a large, cast iron skillet and turn fire on low.

While the oil heats, mix ground beef, diced onions, bread crumbs and seasonings in large glass bowl. Add the egg and mix again until well blended. Shape meat mixture into 3-to-4-inch meatballs (you can make them smaller or larger if you like). One pound of meat makes about 13 4-inch meatballs.

Place meatballs in heated cast iron skillet; cover and cook on low heat for about ten minutes, turning meatballs once. The point is to brown the meatballs without actually cooking them.

Pour one large can (or several cups) spaghetti sauce over meatballs. Cover with lid and simmer over low heat for several hours, turning meatballs occasionally. You made need to add additional sauce before serving, as the meatballs will absorb some of the sauce as they simmer. Serve meatballs over warm angel hair pasta with garlic bread and a salad. Delish!

A few pointers:

  • The key to moist, tender meatballs is cooking them over very low heat for several hours. I usually start the meatballs in the morning and let them simmer until lunch time. It requires very little effort to turn the meatballs occasionally throughout the morning while I help the kids with their school work, wash laundry, or do other housework.


  • If you tend to be forgetful (like me!) set a timer for every 40-45 minutes and turn the meatballs each time the timer goes off.

I had an appetizing picture of my last batch of meatballs to share with you… but the cord to my digital camera is nowhere to be found (maybe I should look in Keith’s toy box?) so I can’t down load the pic to my computer. You’ll have to just imagine how savory these meatballs look… and smell… and taste 🙂

This post is shared at The Ultimate Recipe Swap

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