Spaghetti and Drop Meatballs With Tomato Sauce Recipe (2024)

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Same speed less work. Put all your meatballs on a cookie sheet and bake 375ish degrees for 15 minutes, shaking the tray to roll your meatballs over about halfway through.


Added crumbled bacon and used a mini scoop to make meatballs. Also browned them first so it had a crunchy caramelized exterior. De glazed with red wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar to add depth and complexity to the sauce and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little heat.


It's great to have you here setting everyone straight about how things should be done. I feel put in my place and I haven't even cooked this yet, let alone used ground turkey or frozen pasta.

Liz S.

Especially good if you use homemade bread crumbs, soak them in milk first and then press out the milk that is not fully absorbed. Makes a moister meatball that will be less "dense."


This recipe is making my top 10 of spaghetti recipes - it's beating out my 47 year old tried and true! It's so easy. I do add oregano, basil and Italian seasoning to the tomato sauce which I think makes it more authentic. For me at any rate.

Michael M

Why not just call for a full 2x 28 oz cans of tomatoes. What are people supposed to do — leave that tiny bit extra in a container in the fridge? I'd think that everyone is using the two cans.


This drives me crazy about pro recipes in print and on TV: Someone washes, dries, and often chops everything, so the time just accounts for stirring and actual cook time. Real people don't have sous chefs.

Nancy Caravan

This is a bit blah for our taste. I add herbs and garlic to my meatballs--and brown them on all sides. Maybe in this recipe, the meat is supposed to give flavor to the sauce but it is too short a cooking time for that, so I would also enhance the flavor of the sauce by adding some extra oregano and/or basil.
I freeze extra/leftover sauce, and also freeze individual portions of cooked pasta to save time. Just take out of baggie, drop in boiling water for a few seconds. And, voila.

Carey Larsen

I have to confess that I have not been able to bring this to the table in 30 minutes, even when I was pretending that I was on "Top Chef." More like 38. Nonetheless, this is a very clever, time-saving recipe. I didn't expect the onions to come out OK as they are scattered over the meatballs and then drenched in tomatoes. But the onions have a fresh sweetness in the end. We have found that this dish holds up well in leftover form.


Freezing already cooked pasta!!! OMG...and when pasta just takes maximum 10 minutes to cook! Just drop uncooked pasta into your boiling water and then your pasta will not taste like mush....


I made this recipe and used the leftovers to make a meatball sandwich on a baguette. I liked it much, much better than I did over pasta (for which I found the sauce to be too bland). Heat baguette in oven. Slice in half and remove the doughy part in the middle. Spread thin layer of sauce over each side. Spread the remaining parmesan on each side of the bread, then fill the middle with meatballs and some sauce.

Jack Donnelly

If your inclination, like mine, is for more heavily browned meatballs, deglazing, and some herbs in the sauce, you might also try replacing half (or more) of the beef with mild Italian sausage. If you can get 15 minutes simmering the meatballs/sauce, that also helps. Treat this, as most Bittman recipes, as a framework for improvising! (e.g., I find ground lamb gives me a lighter meatball than ground beef. And I find dried parsley works fine for me – although fresh basil is even better!)


Made it according to recipe; loved it! Wouldn't change a thing! Thanks, Mark Bittman.


Found the amount of parmesan cheese to be way too much -- too strong a cheese taste, too salty. Perhaps if an American parmesan is used as opposed to a good Italian aged cheese that I used, it would be okay. Just be aware of the difference. Plus, I had used the amt recommended in one pound of gr. beef, not the 12 ounces recommended. Cheese was overpowering, a shame.


Was good and easy, but the second time I made it I turned the meatballs to brown on all sides.

Maureen Kelly

Sauce was too tomatoey


Preheat oven fullyTo 450Then put Meatballs in and broil on low for 7 minutesFinish in sauce


We used the air fryer at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Rotated the meatballs halfway through. Came out great! So yummy! We also made some on the stove per the recipe. Air fryer ones were crispy on the outside and not dried out.


Decidedly meh. Both meatballs and sauce need spice, herbs, etc. Very bland dish, as written.


Definitely needs more spices.


Too much work, especially for feeding 2 people.


Delicious. Cooked meatballs in store-bought tomato sauce after realizing I was out of canned tomatoes and everyone loved them.


Maybe if you are a professional chef this will take 25 mins. Otherwise expect this to take you an hour

Rizzy Chuckens

The sauce needs more flavor. We should have used more oil. We tried to use beyond burger ground and it did not work. We should have made them smaller. Terrible we give this recipe a 5.75 out of 10, when you restarted you were trying to fix your YouTube. That's why you had to restart. Is it fix? I think so

Tim L.

Really good.

julia r.

Awesome and easy. We made the meatballs dairy free (used extra breadcrumbs and Worcestershire sauce) so we could eat this for Rosh Hashannah.


Made this last night. Do yourself a favor and let this take 45 minutes or an hour. In the effort to get this in to a 30 minute meal, the instructions are a chaotic mess. Slow down a little, start off with standard mise en place practices, and have a great meal.It is delicious, fwiw. Subbed half parsley for cilantro for a brighter kick.


like many other bittman recipes, a great canvas to start with! I used 1lb beef and 1/4lb ground chicken thigh for the meatballs - dried parsley vs fresh, fresh basil, 1tsp fish sauce, 2 anchovies. 1/2 the meatballs in dutch oven and 1/2 in the air fryer (10 min @ 375) bc of space. Shallots instead of onions, doubled garlic, Added anchovies, capers, and Italian herbs to the sauce. Turned out wonderful but meatballs slightly tougher than I'd like - will adjust mix next time!


were these the best meatballs I've ever had? No, of course not, but the overall result was an easy, warm, comforting dinner. I'd suggest using high quality tomatoes, my favorite are from Bianco Dinapoli, cost is twice as much as my second favorite brand but for an extra $1 per person, well worth it.

Carole Orloff

This recipe is so bland, it's a little shocking. I always follow a recipe exactly the first time, but next time I will add much more garlic, a slew of herbs, and a good dollop of red wine.

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Spaghetti and Drop Meatballs With Tomato Sauce Recipe (2024)
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