Barbara Doyle’s Spaghetti and Meatballs

Here it is, Mrs. Doyle’s amazing recipe. I usually do a double batch… it goes that fast and it also freezes beautifully. (Simply double everything and follow the recipe the same way.) But whether a single or double batch, I promise, you will love this recipe.

Note: this is the only time I ever use Mazola. It’s the family recipe. It’s ok three times a year.

The Sauce: 

2 cups yellow onions, chopped (1 large onion),

10 pods fresh garlic, chopped or pressed

2/3 cup Mazola oil (corn or canola)

2 large cans of Hunts tomato paste

1-15oz can of Hunts tomato sauce or 2- 8-oz. cans

10 T. sugar (this is not a mistake)

4 t. salt

2 t. black pepper

I use a 5qt. stainless steel pot. Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil over medium to medium-low heat.  Cook until the onions are clear and soft, being careful not to burn the garlic. Tom’s note: Take your time. 15 minutes at least. Stand there and stir.

Add the cans of Hunt’s sauce and paste.  Cook this on medium to low for 15 minutes.  You have to stir often or it will burn.  This will begin to turn a darker red. Tom’s note: Take your time. This takes patience, of which I have none. This recipe teaches me patience every time I do it. Well worth it.

Add 5 cups of water, the sugar, black pepper and salt.  Bring to a boil, cut fire down to med. and cook an hour, stirring often.  Then turn to low and cook at least another 30 minutes.

Do not cover the pot because this makes the sauce thin.  Yes, it makes a real mess on the stove top. It’s worth it. You can cover the pot with one of those mesh covers if you have one. While the sauce is cooking, make the meatballs:


1 & 1/2 lb. of ground chuck or a combination of ground chuck and ground pork

1 & 1/2 cups grated white breadcrumbs (l cup crumbs per lb of meat)

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion  (1/2 an onion)

1/2 cup celery leaves, chopped

a handful of fresh parsley chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, grate the fresh bread.  Add cheese, onions, celery leaves and parsley. Season this with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  I usually sprinkle across the bowl 2 or 3 times into the mixture with each.  Add the ground meat and crumble into the bread mixture.    When mixed well, add l egg and mix again.  You can lightly season again.  (You may taste for salt before seasoning again, yes taste the raw mixture.)

Form into meatballs about as big as a golf ball.  Tom’s Note: I lay these out on a cookie sheet covered with foil.

Brown the meatballs in about 1/2 cup Mazola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. You will need to do these in a couple of batches. Make sure the meatballs are well browned on all sides. (Tom’s notethis takes patience. I mentioned that above, right? The meatballs will release from the skillet when they are browned the right amount. Do not try to unstick them as they will break up. I know. I am impatient. I’ve broken meatballs more than a few times. Wait and they will unstick! I then drain them on paper towels on a second cookie sheet.)  

Add the meatballs to the sauce as the sauce cooks.  They should cook at least 30 minutes or more in sauce. I often cook the sauce a total of two hours, with the meatballs going in around the hour mark.


Boil your favorite spaghetti. Put a large serving of spaghetti in a pasta bowl and cover with the sauce. Add a few meatballs on top. Serve with grated parmesan cheese on the side.


This is in honor of Aunt Barbara, as I called her later in life. She succumbed to cancer a few years ago, after a long battle. I never knew just how tough it was for her at times, that’s how she was. We just kept emailing back and forth and she kept making me laugh even half a continent away. How I loved this woman. Make her recipe and enjoy.

7 thoughts on “Barbara Doyle’s Spaghetti and Meatballs

  1. Bothbrecipes sound great. You were lucky, I was 18 before I found out spaghetti sauce was not Campbell’ s tomato soup poured over spaghetti

    1. Yikes, Burt! LOL. Of course, my mom was not beyond Hamburger Helper at times. We all have our stories from growing up, right??

  2. VERY happy recipient here, to be able to say first hand, that I now know from this dish. The sauce…oh that sauce! Learning about two lovely women and their respective spaghetti recipes was the icing on the cake.

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