Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

What would a cookbook be without a decent recipe for spaghetti and meatballs? My father-in-law, Tony’s favorite recipe. When he first had this dish, he was immediately transported back to his childhood. Growing up in an Italian family, he immediately declared that Me Maw would be very proud! This is also one of my mom’s favorite dishes and something she asked for weekly when she was going through chemo treatments. Jarred Sauce? FAH’ GET’ ABOUT IT! (Throw up hands in the air!) Don’t be chintzy! Make my marinara recipe in this book! Take the time and do it right! Tasting Guidelines: Taste is savory and sweet. Weight is medium but can be balanced with lemon juice. Texture is meaty and noodley. Good for people with low to moderate treatment side effects. Best categorized as Italian.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: meatballs, recipes, spaghetti, spaghetti and meatballs
Servings: 6 people
Author: Chef Ryan Callahan
Cost: $15


  • mixing bowl
  • casserole baking dish
  • Spaghetti pot
  • Colander
  • cooking utensils


Food Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. spaghetti noodles medium bodied, not thin and not thick
  • one batch marinara follow marinara recipe on this website
  • cooking spray
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pork ground
  • 1 lb. 90/10 lean ground beef
  • ½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • bread crumbs as needed

Flavor Balancers:

  • 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 2-4 shakes crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinaigrette dressing


  • 2 tbsp. garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano


  • Mix all of the above meatball ingredients, flavor balancers, and aromatics, in a large bowl. Mix by hand, thoroughly distributing all ingredients. Mix in bread crumbs as necessary to absorb extra moisture. Cover and allow to rest in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 425°After meatball mixture is done marinating, roll by hand into your desired size. I prefer to make mine about the size of a golf ball. Now place into a 9×13 baking dish. Make sure that your dish is well coated with cooking spray. After filling dish with meatballs, spray the top of the meatballs with nice even coat of the same cooking spray. Bake until juices run clear and a little bit of the cheese starts melting out. This will vary based on the size of your meatballs. If they are the golf ball size, about 30–45 minutes. If your meatballs are larger, they will take longer.
  • During last 15 minutes, cook off your spaghetti. Making sure that the water you use is salted enough to taste like the ocean. Don’t over cook your pasta. Strain well and lightly coat with olive oil to avoid sticking.


Some people cook their meatballs in their sauce. I don’t do this as you cannot get a good browning on the meatballs, which reduces the savory flavor of the dish. Another reason to bake the meatballs off in the oven, besides the additional savory characteristics, is you can cook off much of the grease. This contributes to a lighter weight meatball. Remember that lighter dishes are easier for chemo patients to eat.

Cooking for Chemo focuses on teaching you how to make your food taste good again during cancer and chemotherapy treatments. The flavor and cooking techniques contained within our easy to make recipes will help improve your quality of life as you go through cancer and chemotherapy treatments. Our cooking and flavor techniques can be integrated with any diet regimen. Talk with your dietitian to come up with a quality nutrition plan. This site is not to be taken as or used instead of professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor, oncologist, and dietitian before starting any new diet.

This recipe is taken from Cooking for Chemo …and After! By Chef Ryan Callahan -The Cancer Chef. For more cooking for chemotherapy recipes like this, you can pick up a copy on Amazon . Have specific questions? Email us at

About the Author:

Chef Ryan Callahan is a 2x Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winning Chef. He is also the author of "Cooking for Chemo ...and After!" Chef Ryan acted as his mother's primary caregiver while she herself went through chemotherapy treatments. He has dedicated his life to helping cancer fighters navigate the difficulty that eating related side-effect present to the cancer fighter.