Main Dish Meat Pasta

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Perhaps like you, I have tried several meatball recipes and never quite found “the one”.  Now I have!  This is my new favorite recipe meatballs.  Use it on spaghetti or in a sub sandwich.  These are made with ground turkey because 1.  fewer calories and 2. ground turkey only costs $2.69/lb. at Costco.

The footlong meatball sandwich at Subway is over 1000 calories.  It depends on the bread you use, but it will certainly be less than 1000 calories.  Plus you know these are fresh meatballs and can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
yield 6 servings

2 slices of good white bread, crust removed and torn into little pieces
1 egg yolk
3 Tb. buttermilk (or cheat with 2% milk mixed with a splash of lemon juice.  let sit for 5 minutes)
21 ounces of ground turkey
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp. dry parsley flakes)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tb. olive oil

1 – 24 oz jar of Garlic and Onion Pasta Sauce  (for homemade sauce, take 2 – 14.5 oz. jars of diced tomatoes and puree in food processor)
1 – 14.5 oz. jar diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (or 4 if using homemade puree)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (I omit when serving to children)
1 lb. spaghetti
3 Tb. fresh shredded basil (or 1 tsp. dried basil)

1.  Meatballs:  In a big big bowl, mix the bread, buttermilk and yolk together.  Sit covered for 5 minutes.
2.  Take your fork and mash the mixture until it is all mushy.  Perfect.  Now add your meat, parsley, 2 cloves, salt and pepper.  Stir that gently with your hands.  Using your medium ice cream scooper or your hands, make 1.5″ meatballs.  Put on a plate and cover.  Throw them in the fridge for at least an hour.
3.  In the biggest skillet you have (hopefully 12″ or more), put the olive oil over medium heat.  Let that get nice and hot.  Brown the meatballs and turn them until each side is done.  This takes about 10-12 minutes.  Put the browned meatballs on a plate and let that sit.  Leave the skillet alone and keep that yummy meat residue inside!!!
4.  Sauce:  While the skillet is warm, add your onion and a pinch of salt to the skillet.  Cover your skillet and stir once in a while over medium-low heat.  Once the onion is soft and a little brown, add the garlic and red pepper.  Stir that around for 30 seconds.  Add your garlic and onion pasta sauce to the skillet, or your pureed tomatoes.  Add the can of diced tomatoes with their juices.  Simmer and cook 10 minutes with a cover, or you’ll have a mess.
5.  Put the meatballs in the skillet.  Cover or you’ll have another mess.  Cook 10 minutes.  Last, add the fresh or dry basil on top.
6.  Pasta:  Cook per box directions.  Add about 1 Tb. of salt to the water with the pasta.
7.  To Assemble:  Place about a 1/4 cup or so of the sauce into the cooked pasta.  Stir it around so the pasta won’t stick.  Now place pasta on a plate and spoon the meatballs and sauce on top.  Grate some Parmesan cheese if you like.

Recipe mostly from America’s Test Kitchen.  But I came up with the garlic and onion sauce idea 🙂


  1. […] This recipe uses 8 oz. ground beef or ground chuck.  I know most packages sell their ground beef in 1 lb. or larger.  So, I simply made a large 16 oz. batch of the same size meatballs and the kids ate spaghetti and meatballs for dinner the next day.  Three kids approved these meatballs, so they must be good!  And much easier to make than my previous meatballs. […]

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