Spaghetti and from-scratch meatballs | eat. live. travel. write.

Spaghetti and from-scratch meatballs

This recipe is one I developed for my freshly ground pork – part of this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge (meat grinding).  As it just so happened, when we were in Niagara on the Lake a couple of weeks ago, we tasted a fabulous meatball at Lailey Vineyard.
Developed especially for the Wine and Herb event by Stone Road Grille and paired with a 2006 Cabernet Franc, these were hearty and so flavourful – you could tell the tomato sauce had cooked for hours and that the meatballs were braised for a while in the sauce.  As I was tasting them, a lightbulb went off in my head – all of a sudden I knew exactly what I was doing with the pork shoulder I would grind when I got home.  This time, using the blade in the grinder attachment. I find it works much better if you do, LOL!  Lailey provided the recipe which I took and adapted to make these beauties!  They also provided a recipe for the confited tomato sauce the meatballs were served in at the winery but I used the wonderful Lailey tomato sauce made with their wine.  If you have homemade tomato sauce, go for it. Otherwise, a good quality jarred sauce will do.

Yield: 6-8

Spaghetti and from-scratch meatballs

Spaghetti and from-scratch meatballs

Homemade meatballs - easier than you would think!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Inactive Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes


  • 500g pork shoulder, diced into 1" pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons 35% cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 900 mls tomato sauce (I used a jar that I bought at Lailey Vineyards, but any high quality jarred sauce will do)


  1. For the pork: Mix the pork with the garlic, shallot, parsley, thyme and oregano. Cover and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, placing in the freezer for the last 30 minutes. Use the Kitchen Aid meat grinding attachment to grind the meat and herbs together. Now use the paddle attachment, add the wine to the minced meat and combine for about a minute.
  2. For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs, cream and parmesan to the meat and combine well. Using your hands, form meatballs. This amount made 25 decent sized ones or about 50 smaller ones.
  4. Brown meatballs in a heavy skillet or frying pan in olive oil then place in an oven-proof dish. Cover with the tomato sauce. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes (longer for the larger sized meatballs). Serve over cooked spaghetti or bucatini.

did you make this recipe?

please leave a comment or review on the blog or share a phone and tag me on Instagram @eatlivtravwrite !

I *highly* recommend you try this recipe.  I made larger-sized ones because I needed them to stand up to the bucatini, but I imagine that smaller-sized ones would work better with linguine or spaghetti(ni). Or, you know, just on their own.

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78 Responses to Spaghetti and from-scratch meatballs

  1. Jill Colonna May 17, 2011 at 06:03 #

    What mouth-watering photos. Love the check tablecloth, too. Makes it look out of Lady and the Tramp! Your meatballs are definitely worth making for a royal plate of bucatini.

  2. Tes May 17, 2011 at 06:31 #

    Wow the pictures make me drool! Your meatballs look juicy and delicious 🙂 I will definitely try this 🙂

  3. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen May 17, 2011 at 06:32 #

    I agree with Jill! These are mouth-watering. You are making me want a meatball for breakfast! 🙂

  4. Christine (HammockGal) May 17, 2011 at 06:50 #

    Mardi, these look wonderful, and I bet tasted even better! Made from scratch, makes them worth so much more. Good for you. :o)


  5. Kulsum at JourneyKitchen May 17, 2011 at 07:51 #

    Mardi this looks so good! There is nothing better than spaghetti and meatballs is there?

  6. penny aka jeroxie May 17, 2011 at 08:05 #

    I need to start making a batch and freeze them and use as I need them. Always great to have meatballs handy for a quick mid week fix

  7. MikeVFMK May 17, 2011 at 08:09 #

    Mardi, these look delicious. I can only imagine how good meatballs from scratch are, especially your own ground pork. Well done.

  8. Mr. Neil May 17, 2011 at 08:28 #

    For this, we paired a Niagara Merlot/Cab blend. It seemed “the thing to do” after our trip, and in keeping with the Lailey pasta sauce.

    General guideline: if you use a wine in the cooking that you’ll be drinking, the nuances of flavour will work well on the palate.

  9. Adora's Box May 17, 2011 at 09:01 #

    Such a beautiful presentation for spaghetti and meatballs. Lovely recipe, too. This is definitely a must try dish.

  10. megan @ whatmegansmaking May 17, 2011 at 09:26 #

    Love from scratch meaballs!! My mom always made them growing up. These look so good 🙂

  11. Maria May 17, 2011 at 09:50 #

    From scratch is always best!

  12. Paula May 17, 2011 at 09:57 #

    My mom made home-made meatballs every time we had spaghetti and to be honest, I don’t. I just add lost of meat to my pasta sauce. Your prior post and now this one have caused me to want to start serving meatballs with my weekly spaghetti dinner.

  13. Aimee May 17, 2011 at 10:01 #

    Wow these look deliciousss! Yummy 🙂 Lovely photos too.

  14. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom May 17, 2011 at 10:57 #

    The only thing better than a pasta and meatballs dinner, is using the leftovers to make meatball subs. These would be perfect in a roll topped with sauce and cheese.

  15. Mushrooms Canada May 17, 2011 at 12:02 #

    I love spaghetti and meatballs made from scratch… I often use ground turkey or chicken and I throw in some chopped mushrooms to keep ’em moist! Can’t say I go as far as to grind my own meat though… if only I had the time!
    – Brittany

  16. Xiaolu May 17, 2011 at 13:09 #

    I can tell by the ingredients how flavorful and delicious these must be. My boyfriend would be over the moon if I made him these :).

  17. Steph@stephsbitebybite May 17, 2011 at 13:48 #

    Now I’m starving!! What a good lookin dish!

  18. Belinda @zomppa May 17, 2011 at 14:44 #

    What fantastic meatballs! A definitely classic.

  19. Kimmy @ Lighter and Local May 17, 2011 at 16:54 #

    I’m always searching for good meatball recipe. I still haven’t been able to a) re-create my grandfather’s or b) find one I really enjoy. Maybe the key has always been in grinding my own meat and finding my own blend.

  20. Liz May 17, 2011 at 17:00 #

    OH, yum! These look like fabulous meatballs…my family would be thrilled with these for dinner…yummy flavors~

  21. Nelly Rodriguez May 17, 2011 at 17:08 #

    that is one gorgeous plate of meatballs!

  22. Michelle May 17, 2011 at 20:05 #

    Wonderful photos! Nice and bright.

  23. Celia May 18, 2011 at 10:40 #

    Love that you went with meatballs – and that they’re porky! And totally gorgeous to boot. I didn’t even think of it, but custom-grinding meat for meatballs is a great way to get your desired mix of beef, pork, and veal. Great idea!

  24. Jennifer (The Gourmetour) May 18, 2011 at 12:33 #

    wow, those look amazing. Could one substitute the pork for turkey?

  25. Rochelle May 18, 2011 at 14:19 #

    Mardi, Mardi… you are making me want to drag my hubby to the store and get a meat grinder so I can do this too! And I can’t work here yet to feed my cooking/kitchen habit like that!

    I guess I’ll just have to go to the butcher and get me some ground pork and get to work the easy way on a few of these beauties 😀

  26. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 18, 2011 at 15:29 #

    Yum! Looks amazing… I’m craving some meatballs now!

  27. Michelle @ Taste As You Go May 30, 2011 at 15:03 #

    These meatballs look so delicious, Mardi! Perfect topped with some melted provolone for a meatball grinder!

  28. Spicie Foodie May 31, 2011 at 19:19 #

    Oh Mardi those meatballs look perfect! The photos with the spaghetti and meatballs makes my mouth water every time I look at it, so yummy. Thanks for participating in this month’s YBR 🙂

  29. Katherine June 1, 2011 at 15:30 #

    What a wonderful recipe! And great photos. Spaghetti and meatballs is total comfort food for me, so can’t wait to try this recipe! So glad to have found you through Spicie Foodie’s YBR.

  30. Dino Romano August 21, 2011 at 10:20 #

    Another kitchen sink recipe. Where did you come up with this? You just DON’T mix oregano into meatballs, or thyme, or mix garlic and shallots (onion family). Learn how to cook first before spreading “the wisdom.”

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 21, 2011 at 10:42 #

      Thanks for your input. This recipe, as clearly stated above, is adapted from the Stone Road Grille’s recipe which might not be how YOU make meatballs but which was absolutely delicious.

  31. Dino Romano August 21, 2011 at 11:02 #

    The cooking staff of the Stone Road Grille would all be jailed in Italy for that conglomeration of stupidity. I marvel at the way ignorant people glom (“awesome”) on to cooking advice, particularly Italian, which they can find in a can or a Greek pizza parlor. “Just add some oregano and it’s Italian. YOU are supposed to be a writer. Writer’s do research. Your audience probably won’t mind vacuous information, but some of us do. Read Ludwig Bemelmans’ food writing. He may not have taken as good a picture as you, but, you might learn something.

    • Krystina Roman August 21, 2011 at 11:54 #

      Many people enjoy Mardi’s writing and photography alike. Her writing is not vacuous in the slightest. As a member of the industry I appreciate her writing, insights and yes research. If YOU have something to say, say it with conviction and without anonymity. If you can not muster up the strength please move on.

  32. Dino Romano August 21, 2011 at 12:14 #

    Kystina Roman…I offer you the same advice…read Ludwig Bememlmens.

    Also, what anonymity? You have my name and e-mail address. What more would you like. I’d be glad to provide it.

    The herd mentality I see, just in comments for this one recipe, gives me no hope for food in America.

    If you have a legitimate argument other than “Mardi is a nice person, and people like her,” please, make it. If not, S-H-U-T UP! You are making yourself look foolish.

    • Mr. Neil August 21, 2011 at 12:38 #

      My goodness, a bit of the pot and kettle there, Dino. You come across as positively foolish – which I doubt you are. I’m not sure why some feel the need to become so nasty without apparent reason?

      (No need to respond – it would be waste of your time, and hardly worth getting into a discussion with you on…)

      Re Bemelman, I wholeheartedly agree: a most intriguing character (and great writer). Funnily enough, just picked up his book on Hansi this week.

      • Dino Romano August 21, 2011 at 13:11 #

        Alas, Mr. Neil, I feel the need to squash ignorance, where I positively, absolutely, without question, know that it exists. I didn’t say stupidity…I said ignorance. Not knowing something and professing to is the heart of not just mediocrity, but, the beginning of ruin, for a culture at least.

        While I applaud the recent interest in food by Americans (“foodies” — what a repulsively narcissistic term) thus tortured, hand wringing, about how great someone’s recipe is “AWESOME” (in this case from a banal, “My Nonna Could Really Cook,” swill hole in Buffalo that wouldn’t know Italian food if a truck load of it was dumped on their heads), is often just a starkly commercial attempts by people at getting their own web sites linked and noticed.

        It is annoying, counter productive, and asinine.

        Better you promote Bemelmens than this type of commercialism which will lead the U.S., as a culture, nowhere.

  33. Mr. Neil August 21, 2011 at 13:16 #

    No problem with your soapbox and respect your opinions – just your lack of polite courtesy, witnessed in your self-absorbed insular rant.

  34. Krystina Roman August 21, 2011 at 13:18 #

    Boy am I glad Mardi, Mr. Neil and I live, cook, eat and write in Canada.

    • Dino Romano August 21, 2011 at 16:08 #

      Ah…and to think that over the years I’ve had some of the finest meals I’ve ever eaten, anywhere, in Canada .

      Please, understand that culture…intellectual advancement…doesn’t occur when friends post glowing reviews of their friend’s deficient ANYTHING, including recipes and writing.

      Just teasing you Ms. Roman. I’m sure you’re not a friend of Mardi’s….are you????

      It is true about the fabulous meals though. Several in Montreal and many in rural Quebec have never left my mind.

  35. Dino Romano August 21, 2011 at 13:19 #

    Mr. Neil….”AWESOME” commentary! Just what we need to do, encourage these idiots.

  36. Ducky August 22, 2011 at 01:15 #

    Wow! I never knew the point of a cooking blog was supposed to be cultural advancement, just cooking and having fun. Oh well.

    Then again, I suppose that argument allows multiple justifications for terrible manners.

    • Dino Romano August 28, 2011 at 20:44 #

      No, just recipes that make it to the front page of a National food site. They’re just as ignorant for publishing it.

      • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 29, 2011 at 05:56 #

        If you have a problem with Gojee publishing my work, perhaps you should take the matter up with them.

        • Dino Romano August 29, 2011 at 09:58 #

          I have. They have chosen not to respond and by censuring my observations. THIS is why the internet can be a dangerous instrument in the wrong hands. In this case, a simple recipe made malignant by ignorance and greed…maybe just the need to be noticed. What if this were a vital subject? People would still be blowing smoke at you…at least your friends who are incited by either love for you or sycophantic behavior which is rampant online. THAT my lady is what this discussion is all about. Your “recipe” made it to the front page of a national web site without any editing on their part. They refuse to respond to criticism, so, you are the next step. Let them know and see if they would like to join in this valuable discussion. Here’s another example of another, talented food writer, who took the criticism and did something about it. http://italianfood.about.com/od/vegetablesauces/r/blr1780.htm

  37. cathy August 28, 2011 at 07:45 #

    Well frankly, unless the meatball recipe in question is on the European PDO list then I would humbly suggest the maker can make it however they want to. It’s just a meatball. I’m also at a loss as to how this is percieved as undermining an Italian culinary cultural heritage……..can someone direct me to where it is claimed this is an authentic Italian recipe?

    • Dino Romano August 28, 2011 at 17:07 #

      Frankly it has nothing to do with ORIGINALITY and all to do with ignorance. YOU, in particular, will never understand.

      • Krystina Roman August 28, 2011 at 21:13 #

        I can’t decide which word best describes this saviour of Italian cuisine: Jealous, intolerant, insolent, dogmatic, miserable, tyrannical, pompous, egotistical….
        Is this meatball travesty you so acutely bring to everyone’s attention and continuously demean others finally done? Have you completed condescending this recipe, the restaurant, the blogger and others as well?

      • cathy August 29, 2011 at 03:30 #

        Oh, Dino…….YOU are hilarious!!

      • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 29, 2011 at 05:49 #

        I think you’ve made your point, Dino. Thanks so much for contributing to this discussion. I have taken all your points on board and when I choose to make authentic Italian meatballs, I will defer to your expertise.

  38. Gred Padgett August 28, 2011 at 22:13 #

    While Mr. Romano could have used more courtesy in his comments; the fact is that he is making some qualified points.

    It seems that as long as comments pander to a blogger they are acceptable. But if someone offers a commentary that is adverse to that pandering, there is an uproar such as we see here.

    I too find this recipe to be one that is not deserving of such high praise. Dried garlic, canned sauce and photos that have it looking more like Chef Boy-R-Dee than a sophisticated dish have comment after comment espousing wonder.

    This author needs to be able to manage her critics better; they exist but they simply do not care to be assaulted by the minions that rise up at the very notion that someone might not inexplicably agree with her or think a dish unsatisfactory. This is widespread across food blogs though and she is not alone.

    If vacuous praise is all you care for, you might want to change the title of this section from Comments to Praise.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 29, 2011 at 05:48 #

      Thanks Gred (sic) for adding your 0.2c to this discussion. I have no problem with constructive comments, however, I have not found Mr Romano’s comments to be useful or relevant, given I never claimed that these meatballs were authentically Italian. As I said in my original response, they might not be the way you (or anyone) makes meatballs but the fact is they tasted delicious. I am sorry you feel otherwise and sorry you feel they resemble Chef Boyardee. Since I don’t eat Chef Boyardee, I cannot comment on that. It seems plenty of others don’t agree with either of you so let’s just agree to disagree. If you don’t like what you see here, there are plenty of other blogs to read.

    • Dino Romano August 29, 2011 at 10:07 #

      Precisely Mr. Padgett. This is a philosophical argument, not necessarily one of accuracy or correctness, although there is a whole lot to be said about being accurate.

      The national website that posted Mardi’s “recipe” refused to post my negative commentary, so, I went to her with my vituperative annoyance of all things stupid on the internet.

      People may not consider this important. If so, the internet will become a miasma of paid lobbyists. And we know how well lobbyists look out for the interest of people who are NOT paying them.

  39. Krystina Roman August 29, 2011 at 06:42 #

    The fact of the matter is that Dino’s comments are overshadowed by the insulting tone, condescending commentary, and his incessant need to personally berate others. Constructive criticism is one thing but when a megalomaniac has a need to need to bring others down that’s when a line is crossed. Insults is never a way to help others learn, but then again perhaps I missed that HBR research report and must catch up on my knowledge management skills.

    This recipe never claims to be a doctrine to represent the Italian culinary history pre or post unification. A recipe intended for others to enjoy and do what they wish with it.


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