Italian Talisman Italian Cook Book

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs. Arguably the quintessential Italian-American restaurant fare. Pretty hard to make this dish stick out from the pack, but Ada Boni does just that with an alluring spice mix of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Subtly sweet, these all beef meatballs are rich, hearty and yet their complex seasoning allows them to become more than a one note dish. Ada Boni offers a variant for spaghetti and meatballs that uses a veal/pork seasoned with parsley and garlic but, for my money, this beef version is the one to beat. It will be interesting to see what other recipes I come across over the next few years that might challenge this one.


1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 slice of white bread
2 eggs, beaten
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of ground clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can tomato puree
1 cup celery, chopped
1 lb spaghetti
1/2 cup Parmesan


  1. Soak bread in tomato sauce and then squeeze dry.
  2. Combine ground beef, onion, bread, eggs, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and shape into balls.
  3. Heat olive oil in frying pan and add garlic. Brown meat balls on all sides.
  4. Add tomato puree along with an equal quantity of water. Add celery and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Bring salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti to desired doneness. Drain and then cook pasta in a little bit of the tomato sauce.
  6. Place pasta in a large serving dish, pour meatballs on top. Cover in parmesan and serve.