Spaghetti and Meatballs

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These are Mrs. Frank Sinatra's meatballs with the sauce from Joe Dog's Mafia Cookbook. Serve it with crunchy Italian bread.
Spaghetti And Meatballs
Spaghetti with Mrs. Frank Sinatra's Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs don’t have to take hours and hours. These are Mrs. Frank Sinatra’s meatballs with the sauce from Joe Dog’s Mafia Cookbook. Served with some crunchy Italian bread to sop up the sauce, you can’t get more Italian than this.

I’m in a few Facebook cooking groups and one of them had a post about Mrs. Sinatra’s meatballs and sauce. There was a picture from the WFBL Cookbook of the Stars, 1945 Edition, with a photo of a young Frank Sinatra. Considering the article did not mention which Mrs. Sinatra, we will never know for sure it was his wife, Nancy’s, or his mother Natalie’s recipe. In those days, women were not referred to by their first name, they were referred to as Mrs. and the husband’s name. Frank married Nancy in 1939 and stayed married to her until 1951. Considering the book was written in 1945, I’m going to call it Nancy Sinatra’s.

Spaghetti and Nrs Frank Sinatra's meatballs
Recipe card

Ground Meat for the Meatballs

The original recipe calls for ground pork and ground beef. Ground pork has a lot of fat and so does ground beef. However, if you get a few lean boneless loin chops, you can trim any excess fat and grind it yourself. The same is true for the beef – just get a piece of lean beef and grind it. I used chuck steak and trimmed nearly all the fat off. I wanted to do this because of the cheese that’s included in the recipe.

The Spaghetti Sauce

The sauce I chose is from Joseph “Joe Dogs” Iannuzzi’s Mafia Cookbook. I’ve used it a bunch of times, and it’s my favorite. Who’s not to say, with Frank Sinatra’s alleged Mafia ties that he didn’t know Joe Dog’s. Whether he knew Joe or not, this is an excellent sauce that’s easy to make with lots of flavor. It’s also quick to make – maybe because no one knew when the Feds were going to knock on the door, so dinner had to be ready just in case. This is an excellent sauce to use for Spaghetti and Meatballs or any dish that calls for red sauce.

If you have leftover sauce, you could make this lovely Lasagna with Béchamel and Sausage

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Spaghetti and Nrs Frank Sinatra's meatballs

Spaghetti And Meatballs

These are Mrs. Frank Sinatra’s meatballs with the sauce from Joe Dog’s Mafia Cookbook. Serve it with crunchy Italian bread.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings (slide to adjust): 8
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Difficulty: Moderate
Newsletter: 2022-05-31
Calories per serving: 385kcal


  • ½ pound Chuck steak
  • ½ pound Pork loin
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ cup Parmesan, grated
  • ½ teaspoon Roasted garic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Pepper, freshly grated

~~ — Joe Dog’s Sauce — ~~

  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 28 ounces Tomatoes, canned, whole
  • ¼ teaspoon Dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoon Basil, dried
  • 1 teaspoon Chicken base
  • 1 cup Water

~~ — Pasta — ~~

  • 1 pound Spaghetti
Ingredients necessary for the recipe step are in italic.



  • 1/2 pound Chuck steak, 1/2 pound Pork loin
    Cut the pork into pieces that will fit down the tube of the grinder, about 1 1/2 inches. Cut the beef into similar sizes. Put the meat on a flexible cutting board and leave in the freezer for about half hour or until the meat is hard but not frozen.
  • Feed the meat through the grinder using the small grinder plate.
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F / 148°C.
  • 2 cloves Garlic, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon Roasted garic powder, 2 eggs, 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
    Put the ground meat and remaining ingredients in a stand mix and stir until the mixture is thoroughly mixed.
  • Use a 1/4 cup scoop to make the meatballs.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the balls reach 140°F / 60°C on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Remove the balls from the oven.
  • If you are not going to use them right away, let them cool slightly then refrigerate.
  • If you are going to use them right away, let them rest and keep warm.

For the Sauce

  • 2 cloves Garlic, 1/4 cup Olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder, 28 ounces Tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon Dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper, 2 tablespoon Basil, 1 teaspoon Chicken base, 1 cup Water
    Saute garlic in olive oil until garlic dissolves. Add tomatoes, stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. You can use a stick blender to break up the tomatoes. If you are reheating the meatballs, put them in the sauce and cook for another 15 minutes, otherwise, just add them to the sauce.

For the Pasta

  • 1 pound Spaghetti
    Put the pasta in a large pot filled with water. It's your choice to salt the water or not. You can use the water after it is cooled to water your plants. If you don't salt the water, add a little more salt to the sauce.
  • Drain the pasta and put it in a large bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce and top with grated parmesan and shredded fresh basil leaves.


Serving: 297gCalories: 385kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 25gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 664mgPotassium: 522mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4g
Got Questions? Let me know!Mention @arbpen or tag #arbpen!

13 thoughts on “Spaghetti and Meatballs”

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this blog. I made the meatballs and I used a jar of spaghetti sauce I happened to have on hand. It was good, but I think next time, I’m going to use your recipe for the sauce instead. Those meatballs deserve really good sauce.

  2. 5 stars
    I really like the sauce for this and I’m using it for my lasagna, too. It’s easy and quick to make and tastes great. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    I made the sauce and meatballs separately and froze them so I can make an easy weeknight dinner. Just boil some pasta, heat the balls and sauce, make a salad, and I’m happy.

  4. 5 stars
    Hey there! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout-out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to say that my family loved 💘💘💘 the spaghetti and meatballs. Of course, we had to have it with Texas garlic bread 😁😁😁

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks for the post, is there any way I can receive an email sent to me every time you make a fresh article?

  6. 5 stars
    Thanks for the guidelines you have discussed here. The meatballs turned out good and so did the sauce. Nice job!

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for your recipe. I had heard about this and wanted to try it. I saw yours had a different sauce, and the picture looked great. We were not disappointed. The sauce was excellent and I’ll be using it again. We loved the meatballs, too. Thank you, Mrs. Sinatra, whichever one you were.

  8. 5 stars
    I thought this recipe was great. I loved the meatballs and I loved the sauce! 😉 Cheers!

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