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P’sghetti and Meatballs

Serves 4

From squishing tomatoes to shaping meatballs, there is something that chefs of all ages can do to help prepare this classic dish, updated with extra-lean hamburger and whole wheat pasta.


  • 3 cans peeled Italian tomatoes, drained (28 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, ground into breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti


  1. In a large bowl, break up the tomatoes with your hands. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, partially cover and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the tomatoes are tender, 1 hour, covering the pot for the last 15 minutes of cooking. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium size skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium-low heat. Add the onion, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes; let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites. Sitr in the beef, breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup cheese and the cooked onion.
  4. Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, form 16 meatballs, packing well and leveling off against the edge of the bowl; carefully release them into the pot of tomato sauce in a single layer. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat, shaking the pot occasionally, until the meatballs are firm, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente, about 11 minutes; drain and return to the pot. Toss 2 cups of the sauce with the spaghetti.
  6. Divide the spaghetti among four shallow bowls. Top each portion with four meatballs and some more sauce; sprinkle with more cheese and season with pepper.

Recipe by Tracey Seaman, Test Kitchen Director, Every Day with Rachael Ray. Reprinted with permission from Every Day with Rachael Ray.