After an exceptionally awesome, relaxing, and fun-filled Columbus day weekend (we had a visit from my sister- and brother-in-law, all the way from Texas!), it was so, so hard to go back to the work routine. The thing that got me out the door and through the first day back? Focusing on the fact that we were having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. One of my favorites!
And with only 30 minutes from start to finish, it is an easy, low-key meal to make (but one that feels fancy and special) after a long work day.
In this version, the meatballs are cooked right in the marinara sauce on the stovetop. Spaghetti and meatballs can be made in a number of ways- by baking the meatballs, then adding to the sauce, or by browning the meatballs to get a crispy crust going and finishing cooking in the sauce. In terms of taste, you really can never go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs. So, I like to cut corners with time and use only one pot to simmer the meatballs right in the sauce. The juices from the meat seep into the sauce and the meatballs absorb some of the tomato-ey goodness from the marinara. It’s truly a miracle to witness and to taste.
Even with mixing and forming the meatballs, this meal should only take 30 minutes to make. To make this extra quick and easy, you can make the meatballs in advance and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Then, when you are ready, place the meatballs in a deep skillet or pot with the tomato sauce and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. The smaller the meatballs are, the shorter they will take to cook; I formed mine into balls approximately 1-inch in diameter.
I always recommend making marinara sauce from scratch in bulk, and storing it in the freezer for quick and easy meals like this one. This isn’t always possible, and I didn’t have any for this meal. So, I used Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce. It’s a little pricey compared to the other pre-made sauces, but if you want to take it up a notch on the “fancy” scale and aren’t using your own marinara, I strongly recommend Rao’s. My favorite is the arrabbiata version- it’s spicy from the addition of chili peppers. YUM!
And, lucky me, I have leftover meatballs with which to make meatball sandwiches for another dinner this week! To make meatball sandwiches, just heat up leftovers in the microwave and put on a soft sub roll or a burger bun.
Quick and Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs
In this quick and easy version, meatballs are cooked by simmering in marinara sauce on the stovetop. With authentic Italian flavors, this is a simple yet elegant, no-fuss meal!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4 servings
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
- 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- small dash of worcestershire sauce (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups marinara sauce (or 1, 24-oz jar)
- 18 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
- Fresh chopped parsley and extra parmesan for serving (optional)
- Pour marinara sauce into a deep skillet or pot.
- Combine first seven ingredients in a medium bowl with hands. Form into balls no bigger than 1-inch in diameter and add the meatballs to the marinara sauce.
- Heat marinara sauce and meatballs over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked (adjust to medium-low heat for a strong stovetop burner)
- Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to directions.
- Serve meatballs and sauce over cooked spaghetti and top with parsley and parmesan.