Roman Spaghetti and Meatballs

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
4 to 6 portions

This Roman-style dish features meatballs made with bacon, beef, garlic, Japanese breadcrumbs and red peppers. The meatballs top pasta with a sauce made from diced tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper and fresh marjoram.


6 oz. uncured diced applewood-smoked bacon  
4 large garlic cloves, peeled  
2 lb. ground beef, 15% fat
2⁄3 cup chopped, drained roasted red peppers
2⁄3 cup panko Japanese breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1⁄2 cup coarsely grated onion
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

31⁄2 tbsp. minced fresh marjoram
31⁄2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1⁄2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes in juice
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil


1. For meatballs: Grind bacon in food processor until coarse paste. Transfer to large bowl. Using garlic press, crush two garlic cloves. Gently mix bacon with crushed garlic, beef, roasted red pepper, panko, eggs, grated onion, ½ cup cheese, 1 tbsp. of marjoram, 2 tsp. of crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Let mixture stand 15 minutes.

2. Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tbsp. of meat mixture for each ball, roll mixture into meatballs. Arrange meatballs on baking sheet. (Can be made a day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.)

3. For sauce: Purée tomatoes with juice and remaining garlic in batches in blender until smooth.  

4. Put 1 tbsp. oil in pot and heat over medium flame. Add half of meatballs. Cook until brown on all sides, turning carefully, about 9 minutes. Transfer meatballs to baking sheet. Add more oil to pot, if needed, and repeat with remaining meatballs.

5. Increase heat to medium high. Add finely chopped onions and remaining crushed red pepper to pot and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add tomato purée and 1 tbsp. of marjoram. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

6. Add meatballs. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until meatballs are heated through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

7. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain and transfer to large bowl and toss with 2 tbsp. oil and
remaining marjoram, adding more oil to moisten, if desired. Divide spaghetti among bowls. Top with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and serve, passing additional cheese separately.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
star wars storm trooper

My favorite event—because I’m kind of dorky—is our “May the fourth be with you” (aka “Star Wars”) day on May 4. The whole dining team dresses up, and we offer things like Chewbaklava, Boba Fettuccine and BB-8 Buckeyes. We had a guest cry because they got to take a picture with Chewy.

Menu Development
spilled coffee beans glasses

Following an initial test at the end of May, Starbucks announced that more than 500 of its stores will be pouring nitro coffee by the end of summer. Capitalizing on the cold-brew coffee trend—which reached $7.9 million in sales in 2015 on 115% growth from the previous year, according to researcher Mintel—select U.S. cafes will give up the counter space to serve the creamy, nitrogen-infused java made from the cold-brew base. But how did nitro become the hottest new thing in coffee?

Bringing the bar to coffeehouses

It was the chrome double tap, similar to a bar’s beer tap, and the...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

FSD Resources