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Balls Deep: A Spaghetti Story

Updated: 4 days ago

On a cold frigid Pittsburgh morning with the sound of the a.m. radio crackling, and perched on a barstool framed by a frosted glass window, eleven year old Tony received the time honored tradition of learning how to cook a proper Italian meal from his grandfather. Join us on a heartwarming journey as Tony shares his treasured family recipe for spaghetti and meatballs—a dish steeped in tradition and nostalgic memories, dragged over from old world Naples. Old battered pots, large spoons and a giant bowl of bread crumbs are set out with meticulous instructions for each use and purpose. Each ingredient selected for freshness and purpose.

Delve into the rich flavors and heartwarming stories that make this recipe more than just food—it's a piece of family history. Listen in as Tony and Doreen explore the tales woven within this comforting classic, celebrating the heritage and warmth found in every bite.


Serves Prep Time Total Time

4 30 3.5 hours


Spaghetti Sauce:

1 large can of Cento crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste (cento or hunts is my fav)

1 bunch parsley

10 shakes of garlic powder

2 cloves of garlic minced

¼ cup of good Olive Oil (I prefer TJs)

7 shakes of celery salt

6 shakes of italian seasoning

1 cup parmesan cheese (or pecorino romano) added at the end before serving.


1 pound of organic grass fed beef at least 85% fat.

½ to 1 package of sliced white bread

2 eggs

1.5 cup of parmesan cheese

5 shakes of garlic salt

2 shakes of italian seasoning


Using a large dutch oven-proof covered dish (or prepare the sauce in a pan and put in a crock pot).

Add ¼ cup olive to hot pan.

Saute garlic to soften

Add tomato paste and cook it for about three minutes to brown it slightly.

Add tomato sauce.

Add all of the spices (except parmesan)

Set to high and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer once it reaches boiling point.

Next prepare the meatballs:

Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix together.

Form into balls (somewhere between a baseball and a golf ball)

Place meatballs onto a plate and microwave for seven minutes. (Or you could place them on a cookie sheet and bake them on 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Note: do not fully cook meatballs, cook just enough to hold its shape.

Add meatballs to sauce.

Put dutch oven into a 325 degree oven for up to 3 hours. Check occasionally and stir to make sure nothing sticks.

When ready to serve, remove from oven and add parmesan cheese after it has cooled slightly (about 10 mins).

Serve with fresh crusty bread.

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