Hotbox Hipster

a pittsburgh hippie chick's unbridled love for all things food related



Spag balls 2.0

it was Christmas eve morning, and i sat, making a mental checklist of all that still had to be done… trying to remain ‘jolly’ all the while.  i am sure every other mama in the world felt the way i felt  – and at times it is just that very fact that puts things into perspective for me.  you are not alone woman… suck it up buttercup.   one of the ticks on the tick list was to make meatballs.  enough meatballs for Christmas EVE, and Christmas DAY.  that’s a lot of balls.  i call my meatballs Spag balls… as my friends call me Spags.   as i sat cringing at the thought of pan searing all of those balls in olive oil, and the mess that comes with, i thought to myself… there has GOT to be an easier way.  THE OVEN!!  flash bake them at high heat for a snap, and then transfer them to the sauce bath in the pans to finish cooking in the oven.  YESS!!  i’m gonna try it.  so i created the balls, and as i rolled them out, i placed them about an inch apart on Silpat lined baking sheets.  (parchment works here too, PS)  set the oven to 425*, and bake them, one tray at a time for about 10 minutes or so… you will see them start to get a bit brown.  this browning bit helps them hold the ‘ball’ shape, and allows an easy-peasy transfer with a large fork right into the tray of sauce you will have waiting patiently.  Bake the next pan same way- once they are all par-browned and in in the sauce bath,  BAKE, uncovered, for about an hour at 325*.   top with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese when they come out, (if you like) and you are DONE!  could it get any easier??    here is the original recipe for my Spag balls.

ready to be flash baked.
ready to be flash baked.
mouth watering meatballs
mouth watering meatballs

spag balls 101

i’m sharing my recipe for a tray of delicious, mouth watering meatballs… this recipe was adapted from ‘the ultimate meatballs’ by my lust man Tyler Florence.

everybody in the sauce!


you’ll need:

  •  1 large onion (red or sweet onion)

  • flat leaf parsley (fresh)

  • seven cloves of garlic

  • sandwich bread (six to eight slices)

  • milk

  • parmesan cheese

  •  one egg

  •  1 lb (or over) of ground pork and 1 lb(or over) of ground round or sirloin

  • salt/pepper

  • two 28oz cans of De Fratelli all purpose italian sauce

  • olive oil for cooking.

get out a med sized bowl and place your white bread in it- (cut the crust off) pour milk overtop to saturate a bit (maybe 3/4 cup or so.) set aside. in the largest frying pan you’ve got (non stick)- add a few tablespoons of olive oil. chop up the onion into very small diced pieces. set aside. mince your garlic and set aside as well.  take a big rip of your fresh parsley, (very large handful) chop up and set aside. hit the pan with some heat. md/high should do. once the oil is warmed, add your onion and parsley -saute til soft, about five to ten minutes, adding garlic around last two minutes.  turn off heat/set pan aside to cool. in a large bowl, add your ground meats. mix a lil to combine. squeeze out the excess milk from your bread (will be like a handful of mush) and add squeezed bread to meat.  spread it around over top to seperate a bit.  add the egg/ 1/2cup of parmesan cheese/ 1.5 t salt/1 t pepper (generous) and the onion mixture. dig in and combine. Using same skillet you sauteed onions in, add more olive oil (generous- coat the bottom well), don’t turn on heat yet. you gotta roll the balls. get a big piece of wax paper, or just your clean counter will do. roll them out, bigger than golfball size/ but smaller than a tennis ball. heat your pan/oil, and add enough balls to have room to turn them and play with them a bit.  you will likely do this in two, maybe three batches. in the meantime, get out a big lasagna pan, biggest you’ve got- and add your cans of sauce to it. brown your balls on both sides, (careful not to burn- it makes them taste awful) and add them to the sauce bath as they’re done. best way to turn a ball is with one of your dinner forks or bigger soup spoons. get it under there gently and flip it. Bake all the balls in the sauce bath in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes. not covered. when they’re nearly done, take and top them with slices of mozzarella cheese or provolone slices. (i like the prov better) enjoy with lasagna/ or spaghetti/ or whatever you like. they are killer the next day sliced in half and on a sandwich. you will love these balls. you’ll long for them. don’t say i didn’t warn you. spags.



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