IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Grandma Maroni's Spaghetti and Meatballs

Mike Maroni's recipe for classic spaghetti and meatballs
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY


  • 1/2 pound ground chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 4 ounces dried bread crumbs
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 2 ounces whole milk
  • 6 ounces grated Romano
  • 3 ounces grated Spanish onion
  • 2 ounces finely diced fresh garlic
  • 2 ounces finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 ounces finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Tomato Sauce
  • 4 ounces olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 ounces onions, finely chopped
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 10 leaves basil, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 dash sugar (optional)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
    • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

      Chef notes

      There's nothing like old-fashioned hearty spaghetti and meatballs, especially when the dish is so delicious that it beat star chef Bobby Flay's version in a cooking competition. Lucky for TODAY Food, Mike Maroni, owner and chef of Maroni Hot Pots in New York City and Long Island, NY, is a magnanimous winner and shares his family's amazing 100-year-old recipe.

      Tip: Maroni's trick for making uniform meatballs is to scoop a golf ball-sized amount of the meat mixture using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop and then roll them with his hands.


      Mike Maroni's recipe for classic spaghetti and meatballs
      Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

      For the Meatballs:

      Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.

      In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. If the mixture seems a little loose, add more bread crumbs.

      Loosely roll each meatball into about the size of a golf ball and place on the baking sheet. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.

      For the Tomato Sauce:

      In a large pot, add the olive oil and garlic and cooker over medium-high heat until the garlic lightly browns.

      Add the onions and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. You can also add the optional sugar at this time if you like a sweeter sauce. Simmer for 15 to 25 minutes.

      For the Spaghetti:

      In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti for 3 minutes less than what is directed on its package.

      Once the spaghetti, tomato sauce and meatballs are plated, top each dish with the Parmesan cheese before serving.