All Day Spaghetti and Meatballs

"This recipe requires a full day of cooking but the effort is worth it. My mom got this recipe over 50 years ago from an Italian friend. The baking soda is the secret ingredient to making this recipe a success so don't eliminate it. When finished, it can almost be eaten with a fork. I quadruple the recipe so I have some to freeze."
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Ready In:
5hrs 15mins
2 quarts




  • Mix all meatball ingredients, roll in to balls and brown in skillet. Cool and refrigerate until 1 hour prior to serving. Olive oil may be needed to brown these if using very lean beef.
  • In the skillet, add chopped onions and cook until tender but not soft.
  • Add garlic and can of tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, I mash them briefly in the skillet with a potato masher.
  • Cook until mixture comes to a boil.
  • Put in to a large dutch oven or sauce pan.
  • Add remaining ingredients except for baking soda, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a quick boil and immediately reduce the heat to medium low as this sauce will burn.
  • Add a pinch of baking soda, stir well and allow to simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
  • Taste the sauce for acidity. If acid level (or tang) is still high, add another pinch of baking soda and stir well. At this point do not taste the sauce as all you will taste is baking soda.
  • Cook two more hours.
  • Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If needed, add a small amount of olive oil.
  • Eventually, you will start seeing the sauce getting darker around the edges of the pan. At this point you can season with salt and pepper and add the cooked meatballs.
  • Cook one additional hour.
  • One half hour prior to serving, stir in the parmesan cheese. This will thicken the sauce quickly.
  • This sauce is best served the next day.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This was good and easy to make. I too baked my meatballs instead of frying. We enjoyed it. Made for Spring PAC 2011.
  2. Don't be put off by the title don't actually have to slave away all day to produce this dish!! The sauce itself pretty much looks after itself,I did have to add more water to it at various stages of cooking,as I felt it was getting a little too thick.I also added a few chilli flakes,(as we like ours with a little kick)and a splash of red wine.I baked the meatballs,rather than frying them,just for ease and to reduce the fat a little. A very tasty spaghetti and meatball recipe.Thanks. Made for My 3 Chefs Nov 08.



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