Spaghetti and Baked Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Spaghetti and Italian baked meatballs in a simple Marinara sauce from scratch.  

I don’t know if it’s because the weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, but lately I’ve been craving hearty, warm comfort foods. And there’s just something so comforting to me about a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. This recipe takes a little preparation, but I promise you it’s worth it. The meatballs are so tender and juicy; the red sauce is rich and flavourful- together, piled on top of a big bowl of spaghetti, it’s a beautiful thing.

The idea of making sauce used to be daunting to me. I figured it was time consuming and much easier to just use a jar of the store-bought stuff, but I was wrong. This sauce is so simple with minimal ingredients and it only takes about 20 minutes to prepare.

JAMIE OLIVER Nonstick Baking Tray Amazon link (click the photo)

The key to making sure the meatballs are nice and tender is to mix the panko with milk and allow the panko to absorb the liquid. The technical term for this is a Panade. The combination of liquid and starch acts as a binder and prevents proteins from shrinking and drying out. This is so important especially since we are using lean ground beef.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know if you give it a try in the comments below.

Spaghetti and Baked Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

Spaghetti and Italian baked meatballs in a simple Marinara sauce from scratch.



    For the Spaghetti and Sauce:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnishing
  • For the Meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parlsey
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti to al dente. Drain and reserve ¼ cup pasta water.
  3. Prepare the meatballs. Combine milk and panko. Set aside and allow panko to absorb the milk. In a large bowl add ground beef, egg, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Add panko, onions, garlic and parsley to the ground beef and mix everything together. Form the meatballs and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It should make about 18 meatballs.
  4. Prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil over medium heat in sauté pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add crushed tomatos, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer, and then reduce heat to low. Break up any large tomato chunks with wooden spoon until you reach your desired consistency. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. While the sauce simmers, bake the meatballs for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Set the oven to broil for an additional 2 mins to brown the meatballs.
  6. Add spaghetti to the sauce, toss together. If sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta water and toss. Add meatballs and serve with additional grated parmesan and parsley.


Per Serving: 558 calories; 17 g fat; 67 g carbohydrates; 38 g protein;


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