Spaghetti and Meatballs with Ricotta

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 45 min (includes chilling and resting time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

1/2 small Spanish onion, finely grated 

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano 

2 large eggs 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

8 ounces ground chuck (80/20)

8 ounces ground pork (80/20)

4 to 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs 

Fresh Pasta:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 eggs 

Kosher salt

Tomato Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small Spanish onion, finely diced 

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

Pinch of red pepper flakes 

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes 

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Pinch of sugar, if needed 

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 

Fresh ricotta, for garnish

Parmesan, for grating on top

Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish 

Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish 


  1. For the meatballs: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until soft, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Whisk together the Parmesan, parsley, oregano, eggs, 3 tablespoons cold water, the sauteed garlic and onions and some salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add the chuck and pork and gently mix together until combined. Begin adding breadcrumbs a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture just holds together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. The longer you let the mixture sit, the more the flavor develops.
  3. For the fresh pasta: In a food processor, combine the flour and eggs. Pulse until it comes together as a dough. Remove and knead until smooth. Let rest for at least 30 minutes.
  4. For the tomato sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high, add the tomatoes and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning (adding a pinch of sugar if needed) and stir in the basil.
  5. Form the meatball mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Heat the remaining 1 cup of oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the meatballs and fry until golden brown on all sides.
  6. Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the meatballs have cooked through and the sauce has thickened more, about 15 minutes longer.
  7. To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt.
  8. Roll out the dough in portions using a pasta roller. Cut out spaghetti using a pasta cutter and place the fresh pasta on a tray lined with parchment.
  9. Boil the pasta until al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss the pasta with some of the warm sauce and a little bit of pasta water in a saute pan.
  10. Transfer the sauced pasta to a platter and top with the meatballs (using a slotted spoon). Ladle the remaining tomato sauce over the spaghetti and meatballs. Dollop ricotta on top and grate lots of Parmesan over the top. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs and parsley leaves.

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