Public School on Tap, a scholastic-themed gastropub in Los Angeles, aims to deliver “An Education in the Art of Food & Beer.” They can teach you how to make perfect baked meatballs in spicy tomato sauce at home, too. This is a pretty classic pork-and-beef meatball accented with garlic, onion, and parsley, tenderly bound by egg, whole milk, and breadcrumbs. They’re baked in the oven, then finished in the arrabbiata sauce you made in the meanwhile—garlic and chili flakes are what make the rich tomato sauce “angry.” (Make it with imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes if possible; they’re a great pantry staple to keep on hand.) Serve these saucy meatballs over pasta or with grilled bread, and shower with freshly torn basil and large shavings of Parmesan—try shaving it with a vegetable peeler—before digging in.

Note: Meatballs can be made ahead and held, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can also freeze leftovers for about a month, to reheat for an easy dinner down the line.

Get even more meatball recipes here, and for a full meal, find Italian recipes here to serve as starters, sides, or dessert.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Active: 1 hr

Ingredients (20)

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pork butt
  • 1 pound ground beef, 85% lean
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, plain
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 basil leaves, torn (for garnish)
  • shaved Parmesan, for garnish

For the arrabbiata sauce:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the meatballs until thoroughly combined and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Portion into 3-ounce meatballs, and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. While the meatballs are in the oven, sauté the chili flakes in the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat for 5 minutes. Be sure not to burn the chili flakes. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the canned tomatoes and oregano. Bring sauce to a boil, then remove from heat.
  4. Puree sauce in a blender in batches until smooth.
  5. Return pureed sauce to skillet, add the par-baked meatballs to the sauce, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with shaved Parmesan cheese and torn basil leaves.