Authentic Italian Classic Meatballs and Pasta Recipe: A Family-Friendly Favorite

The most important thing about this recipe is to let it cook long enough to get that rich, slow cooked flavor. Everything in the recipe card below is laid out step by step, but there is a little variation in the cook time. The longer you cook the pasta and meatballs, the better the dish tastes, so just be sure you leave that good hour or two for simmering – it will make a world of difference!

Classic Meatballs and Pasta

Servings: 6
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


Meatballs Ingredients

  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Sauce Ingredients

  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of sliced baby tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • First, slice the cloves of garlic in half and halve the baby tomatoes. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, breadcrumbs, egg, pepper, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Mix it well with your hands, and the form into small balls. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
  • Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the oil and garlic. Let simmer until the garlic starts to brown, and then remove the garlic from the pan.
  • Start adding the meatballs into the saucepan, and cook until they brown a little on each side – make sure to turn the meatballs so they cook evenly on each side. Approximately 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of the meatball.
  • Once the meatballs have browned on the outside, remove any grease in the pan left over from the meat, and then add the halved baby tomatoes. Cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes, or until the tomatoes become soft and squishy.
  • Squish the tomatoes down with a sauce spoon, and then add the can of tomato sauce, basil, salt, pepper, and oil. Stir well, cover with a lid, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Serve over any al dente pasta of your choosing (spaghetti is classic but we prefer Rigatoni); top with Parmesan and enjoy!
  • Tip: this dish pairs perfectly with a red wine!
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5 thoughts on “Classic Meatballs and Pasta”

  1. Ingrid Freeman

    4 stars
    Solid recipe with delicious results. I substituted dried parsley for fresh, which worked nicely.

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