My Favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs

This delicious plate is one of Jim Bailey's, the Yankee Chef's, favorite recipes of all time. Simple, yet flavorful and filling.

My Favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs

Prep Time

25 minutes

Cook Time

50 minutes


6 people

Sure, this sounds like a simple meal and it is. But I find myself answering emails more and more from the younger generation about how to prepare simple dishes such as gravy, biscuits, yeast rolls, chocolate cream pie and yes, even one email about mashed potatoes.

I think it has to do with more and more people eating out rather than spending quality time together at the supper table.

So here is my favorite meal of all time.



  • 20 saltine crackers, crushed
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried cilantro, salt and black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons crushed garlic in oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • To taste Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (or 1 teaspoon dried) chopped, fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 pounds spaghetti
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce


  • 1 Mix the crushed saltines with milk and set aside for 5 minutes. When ready, add the soaked crackers in a large bowl with ground beef, cheese and seasonings, mixing very well. Divide meatball mixture into about 20-25 meatballs, according to the size you prefer: set aside. (see NOTE)
  • 2 For the sauce, place oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook garlic for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add red pepper, tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil and sugar: stir. Add meatballs and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through.
  • 3 Cook spaghetti according to package directions; strain and keep in strainer.
  • 4 When meatballs are cooked, remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate: cover and set aside. Add tomato sauce to saucepan, stirring well. Add spaghetti, blending sauce and pasta until coated completely.
  • 5 Dish it up with meatballs on top.
  • 6 NOTE: Just remember the more fat in your ground beef, the more they will shrink when cooking.


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