Grilled Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Sunday Supper

Cooking projects for people who'd like nothing more than to spend a sunday afternoon surrounded by the wonderful aromas of the kitchen.

Grilled Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

There's something so... cowboy about cooking spaghetti over an open flame. Fortunately, it's tasty, too. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Note: This recipe calls for a disposable grill pan—the kind of perforated pan designed to fit over your grill to allow you to cook small items without them falling through the grates. If you can't find one, you can use a disposable aluminum pan with holes poked into it using a metal skewer.

  • Yield:serves 6
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:2 hours 30 minutes


  • For the Gravy:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 5 slices (about 4 ounces) thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium stalk celery, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 ¼ cups dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons backed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 minced chipotle, from a can of chipotles en adobo
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, broken up by hand into 1/2-inch chunks by hand
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted (such as Muir Glen)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 3/4 pound ground beef (80/20, preferably chuck)
  • ¼ pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons diced, mild green chiles from a drained, 4-ounce can
  • 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely grated onion (about ½ a medium onion)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • For the Spaghetti:
  • 1 pound dry spaghetti


  1. 1.

    Heat a large, non-stick, oven-safe stockpot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the bacon and render, stirring occasionally, until crisped and golden-brown (about 7 minutes). Reduce heat to medium and add carrot, celery, onion, jalapeno and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 10 minutes).

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium-high.

  3. 3.

    Returning to the sauce, add the thyme sprigs, wine, vinegar and brown sugar to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil before adding the tomato paste, chipotle and tomatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer to grill and simmer, uncovered, for an hour, stirring occasionally.

  4. 4.

    Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs by combining all ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Do not over-mix. Form into 1 ½” balls. Reduce grill temperature to medium after an hour’s time. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, gently stirring from time to time.

  5. 5.

    As the sauce nears the finish line, bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Remove pasta sauce from the grill and discard thyme. Set sauce aside and cover to keep warm. Add pasta to boiling water and cook for half the recommended time on the package (about 3 to 4 minutes) until just less than al dente. Drain and toss with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Pour pasta onto grill pan and finish cooking on the grill, tossing until it has taken on smokiness and is very lightly charred (about 4 minutes).

  6. 6.

    Serve family-style, topping grilled spaghetti with meatballs and sauce and passing the Romano.