Slow Cooker Recipe | Spaghetti & Meatballs, from an Old Italian Lady

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Last week on Oh My! Sugar High I mentioned that my sister made this really scrumptious dinner and Chex Mix snacks for my niece’s 16th birthday. Well, it just so happens that I loved the main course that night so much that I had to try it at home. As it turns out this recipe came from an Italian family she works with and my goodness do these folks know how to make some delicious spaghetti sauce!

I will admit, I was a bit intimidated by the idea of making my own sauce. Typically, I’m a Ragu Mom when it comes to Italian food in my kitchen but this was really worth getting up at the crack of dawn to make. I even kind of joked on Facebook the morning I was making this. It was a sight to see … me, with bed head hair, no glasses, blindly digging my hands in the raw meat to mix the meatballs while there are streams of tears flowing down my cheeks after chopping two whole onions.

That said … if you like a red sauce that is rich and tangy, you’ll love this one …

italian spaghetti and meatballs

Meatballs Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs (Progresso)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful of chopped flat leaf parsley (fresh Italian parsley)

Red Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 2 bay whole leaves
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 large cans crushed tomato
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes

Meatballs Directions

  1. Chop onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil until tender.
  2. Loosely combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Form meat into 2 inch meatballs.
  4. In a preheated oven at 350 degrees F, bake meatballs in a sheet pan (with a lip) with 1/2 inch of chicken stock in the bottom for 30 minutes.
  5. Add meatballs and drippings to slow cooker.

Red Sauce Directions

  1. Saute onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil
  2. Add all ingredients to slow cooker on high heat for 8 – 10 hours.

spaghetti meatballs plate

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  1. Delicious! I stumbled.

    It is funny because we had spaghetti tonight for dinner, but it looked nothing like that…ours wasn’t very good LOL

  2. LOL Old Italian lady that’s funny. My grandma always made her own sauce and meatballs.. I guess we all make it differently

    thanks for the recipe it’s neat to see how they vary

  3. I have got to try this!!

  4. oh and I wanted to add my grandma started her sauce a 6:30 am and we ate between 4-5pm so yes you have to let it simmer for ours to blend all the flavor

  5. This is very similar to the sauce I make except I don’t usually make it in the crockpot. Try adding a bunch of chopped spinach to get in a little extra vitamins and nutrients and well it just looks pretty.
    I made spaghetti with jarred sauce for the first time in years the other week and my whole family couldn’t believe what a difference it was. The oldest said he doesn’t mind the extra dishes as long as I don’t use jarred sauce again.

  6. That looks delicious!

  7. Brandy says:

    I make my own sauce in big vats and then freeze it for fresh sauce a long time to come… but I have to be honest… canned sauce is just fine for me and I really enjoy it! Yours looks amazing.

  8. I love a tangy sauce. This sounds so good!

  9. the slow cooker through me off a bit but it makes sense.
    looks good

  10. Everyone needs a good meatball and gravy recipe in their arsenal and this is definitely one of them! My mother in law is the old Italian lady in my life :)

  11. Can’t WAIT for my basil to take off so I can make this. I made my own meatballs for the first time last week, but they were a much simpler recipe . .. good but not “authentic.”

    Just bookmarked it to make after my basil grows in!

  12. Homemade pasta is the only way to go and this looks amazing!!!

  13. YUM. I make spaghetti a few times a month and would love to put a twist on it to give it a change.

  14. I haven’t made sauce in about a month. I only use sweet onions, since I’m a wimp. My daughter nibbles on pieces while I’m cooking, someday she will try that at someone else’s house & be in for a rude surprise :P

  15. Daryl R. says:

    Any recipe that came from an “olde italian lady” is one that i will always try. :) that pic looks scrumptios, thick and flavorful.

  16. We’re always looking for a better spaghetti sauce. This one sounds great. We love pork sausage added to the sauce so I think we’d like these meatballs. Thanks!

  17. Carolyn Barnett says:

    That sounds awesome.I will try this.I love to cook and this looks so good.