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Grandma Maroni's Meatballs and Sauce

Try chef Mike Maroni's family recipes when you're craving classic Italian fare.

  • Yield: Makes 14 meatballs
Grandma Maroni's Meatballs and Sauce

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, April 2010


  • Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 small onion, grated
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Maroni's Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together beef, cheese, 1 cup breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, herbs, onion, and garlic; season with salt. If mixture seems too loose, mix in remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs as necessary.

  3. Roll meat mixture into 2 1/2-ounce balls; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until beef is cooked through and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt water and return to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, according to package directions; Drain.

  5. Heat sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Transfer meatballs to sauce and cook for at least 15 minutes. Transfer meat balls and 1 cup of sauce to a bowl and set aside. Remove remaining sauce from heat. Stir in basil and add drained spaghetti; toss to combine. Transfer spaghetti to a large serving platter; top with meatballs and reserved sauce. Serve immediately, sprinkled with cheese.

Reviews (6)

  • lamiahafedh 8 Nov, 2011

    in tunisia we make simple delicious meat balls just ground beef with one garlic clove black pepper salt ground coriander dry mint no eggs no bread no mustard no oil nothing else then we dip them in a tomato sauce for an hour until balls are ready
    NB we never eat uncooked meat or chicken it is unhealthy

  • jhmd30 22 Oct, 2010

    the meatballs were delicious but i used a combination of beef and veal. the sauce was not a huge hit.

  • lisayuen 26 Apr, 2010

    Delicious! I love that they are so light and fluffy. I got nervous about the raw onion and raw garlic so I caramelized them first. Excellent!

  • MeliSum 26 Apr, 2010

    I had to make these this weekend after catching the show and my suspicions were confirmed: these were the best spaghetti and meatballs my hubby and I have ever had! I think the secret is in the Pecorino Romano--definitely not a recipe to skimp and substitute plain parmesan. I was nervous to use so much P.R. since it's so strong, but the flavor of the cheese enhances the beef (also makes it so you don't need to add much salt to the sauce). This is now *my* new family recipe!!

  • suzysimon 25 Apr, 2010

    This is the basically the way my mother always made meatballs-except the CHEESEand herbs!!! Yum, Yum-I tried it for my family last night and they were all very impressed. Thanks so very much for sharing your grany's secrets.

  • LoloMarie 24 Apr, 2010

    My father used to make his hamburgers with very similar ingredients. Wish I knew my dads recipe. When I watched this section, it reminded me of dad and made me want to cook these meatballs, hopefully in the next week! Thanks for the segment.

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