Italian Meatballs With Rotelli & Meatball Heros

This recipe makes enough saucy meatballs for several meals. Toss half of the meatballs over pasta for tonight's dinner and freeze the rest to make meatball sandwiches next week.

Italian Meatballs With Rotelli & Meatball Heros
Servings: 12 Yield: 6 servings of pasta and 6 meatball subs Prep 30 mins Cook 1 hr


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 3 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 cup packaged seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 small zucchini, finely shredded
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound rotelli pasta cooked according to package directions

Make It


1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots and peppers; cook, stirring, 10 to 12 minutes or until softened. Remove half for making meatballs.

2. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper flakes to vegetable mixture remaining in pot. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.


3. Place reserved vegetable mixture, chuck, crumbs, zucchini, eggs, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper and Parmesan in large bowl. With clean, wet hands, mix.

4. Line baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Form meat mixture into 36 meatballs (1/4 scant cup for each). Place on prepared baking sheet.

5. Drop meatballs into simmering sauce; dont stir for 5 minutes. Simmer in sauce for another 30 minutes, gently stirring occasionally.

6. Spoon half of sauce and half the meatballs over cooked rotelli on large platter. Cool remaining sauce and meatballs for future Meatball Heros (recipe follows). Cover; refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 2 months. Makes 6 servings plus enough for Meatball Heros (recipe follows).


Meatball Heros:
  • Thaw sauce and meatballs, if necessary, overnight in refrigerator. Gently heat in saucepan over low heat until warmed through. Meanwhile, cut 6 long buns in half and toast. Top 6 halves with 3 meatballs each plus sauce. If desired, sprinkle 8 ounces (total) shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Broil briefly to melt. Top with remaining bun halves.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 12; Amount Per Serving: cal. (kcal): 644, Fat, total (g): 22, chol. (mg): 120, sat. fat (g): 8, carb. (g): 78, fiber (g): 8, pro. (g): 35, sodium (mg): 1322, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.