John’s “Tender & Juicy” Spaghetti and Meatballs
PREP TIME: 2 Hours
SERVES: 8-10

Nothing is worse than sitting at the table ready to enjoy a plate of Spaghetti and Meatballs, and the meatballs are tough and dry. I actually had to travel to Italy to learn the secret of juicy, tender meatballs.


  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup minced celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsps salt
  • 2 tbsps pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef and ground pork. Using your hands (washed well), blend beef and pork thoroughly. Add eggs, onion, celery, garlic, basil, breadcrumbs and cheese. Again, using your hands, blend thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. I recommend frying a small patty of the meat mixture in a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil to test for seasoning. Correct if necessary. Roll the meatballs into the desired size. I recommend meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball. Place the rolled meatballs on a cookie sheet, cover and refrigerate. This will make approximately 20 meatballs.


  • 4 35-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Drain the Italian plum tomatoes through a sieve, retaining the juice. Chop the tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces. Return tomatoes to the juice and set aside. In a 3-gallon saucepot or large Magnalite pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and garlic and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add tomatoes in juice and chopped basil. Bring to a low boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add raw meatballs, dropping gently into the sauce. Return sauce to a simmer. Do not stir for the first 10 minutes of simmering, or you will break the meatballs. When stirring, use a wooden spoon and move the meatballs gently through the sauce. Simmer for one hour, adding a little water or chicken stock, if the sauce becomes too thick. Season the sauce to taste using salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Place cooked spaghetti in a large serving bowl and top with six to eight ounces of the finished sauce. Toss well to coat spaghetti. Pour spaghetti in the center of a large serving platter. Arrange meatballs on top of pasta, top with additional sauce and Parmesan cheese.

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