Dad’s Famous Spaghetti (with Meatballs)

Dad’s Famous Spaghetti was given its name by my daughters…really due to the fact that it is never the same twice.  I’m always experimenting with it and trying to improve it, and I’m still not ready to settle on a final product.  As it’s usually a weeknight meal, I typically go with some type or combination of ground meat in the sauce.  However, I’ve been on the lookout for a good meatball recipe that would be worth incorporating into Dad’s Famous Spaghetti when time allowed for it.  I found one recently in Gail’s blog, “snapshotsincursive” [see original recipe here], and I really wanted to give it a try.

Gail’s recipe is for a “Mountainous Meatball” which I scaled down to a suitable size for spaghetti.  I also used 2 lbs. of ground sirloin instead of 1 lb. and made approximately 20 meatballs (I have a large household).  Doubling the amount of meat necessitated a bit of guessed-imating on the rest of the ingredients (using slightly more than called for in most cases), but everything came out great.  The preparation became a bit of a comical family affair with some doing the cutting while others rolled and stuffed the meatballs to the command of “cheese ball me!”

A bonus with this recipe is that you can use the leftover Italian bread from the milk-soaked bread crumbs to make garlic toast.  The meatballs were a big hit, and Dad’s Famous Spaghetti has been raised to a new level.  As always, I boiled the noodles in chicken broth with garlic powder and onion powder to build in a good rich flavor.  My one regret is that the sauce (which is normally cooked with the ground meat and its various seasonings) was depleted of some of its usual flavor.  But, the continuous pursuit of improvement is what makes Dad’s Famous Spaghetti special.  A new improved sauce recipe will be coming soon…


1 medium onion, chopped [not used for spaghetti meatballs]

1 tablespoon olive oil [for sauteing onions – not used]

1 cup Italian bread, soaked in milk and squeezed out

1 pound ground sirloin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 eggs

1/4 cup dry Italian breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 sprigs Italian parsley, chopped

3 Ciliegine mozzarella balls (cherry size) [used smaller mozzarella pearls instead]

2 cups marinara sauce [used spaghetti sauce instead]

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated [used shaved Parmesan instead]

3/4 cup ricotta [not used]

Fresh basil for garnish


Preheat oven to 400°. Sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat. Set aside. Tear Italian bread into chunks. Add enough milk to cover. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine ground sirloin, garlic powder, eggs, dry Italian breadcrumbs, sea salt, black pepper, Italian parsley, and the milk-soaked breadcrumbs (with the liquid squeezed out). Mix well. Form into three meatballs the size of a tennis ball. Make an indentation in the top of each meatball. Stuff with a Ciliegine mozzarella ball. Press meat around the cheese leaving only a small bit visible. Place meatballs on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes until brown and firm. Remove from oven and place each meatball in an individual oven-proof serving dish. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Spoon marinara sauce over meatballs, dividing it equally between the serving dishes. Top with 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, between the three dishes. Bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Sprinkle on the remaining parmesan cheese. Add a dollop of ricotta cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh basil. Serve with garlic toast.

Please take the time to visit Gail’s blog for more recipes, travel, poetry, and genuine positivity.


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