Courtesy Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore is our kind of people: She loves her food and she’s not afraid to Instagram it.
The actress, who is due with her second daughter in March, mixes in plenty of get-in-my-baby-belly shots on her feed: Chinatown noodles, silly fried eggs, and the now-famous pizza pitstop after this month’s Golden Globes.
Although she recently dished with Ellen DeGeneres about her weight gain and Chinese take-out cravings, perhaps that nesting instinct is kicking in, since her latest culinary showpiece is one of her own home-cooked dinners.
She posted a photo on Instagram Wednesday of delicious-looking spaghetti and meatballs with the caption “I made homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs !#themeatballshoprecipe #pregnantcooking#sweetleftovers.” (Given her track record, it sounds like Barrymore is one of the lucky expectant moms who’s dodged the heartburn bullet.)
Barrymore got the recipe from Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow’s The Meatball Shop Cookbook, a collection of recipes from the popular Manhattan mini-chain that serves five kinds of mix-and-match meatballs and sauces daily.
Although the recipe is fairly straightforward and classic, Holzman does include one curve-ball ingredient for the meatballs: Ricotta. (And hey, pregnant women do need plenty of extra calcium.)
We all know cheese makes anything better, and as Holzman explained to Fine Cooking magazine, “Its fat content adds a little bit of extra moisture and a mildly creamy flavor without making the meatballs dense or heavy.”
Though it’s widely debated, some experts do believe that what a woman eats during pregnancy can influence her children’s preferences later in life. If this is true, Barrymore’s 16-month-old daughter, Olive, and her little-sis-to-be may grow up to be some serious foodies.
Classic Beef Meatballs
Makes about 24 1 ½-inch meatballs
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. 80% lean ground beef
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp. ground fennel
4 cups classic tomato sauce (recipe below)
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
2. Combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and fennel in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
3. Roll the mixture into round, golf-ball–sized meatballs (about 1 ½ inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
4. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.
5. While the meatballs are roasting, heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often.
6. When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, remove them from the oven and drain the excess grease from the pan. Pour the tomato sauce over them. Return the meatballs to the oven and continue roasting for another 15 minutes.
Classic Tomato Sauce
Makes 7 cups
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp. salt or to taste
2 tbsp. tomato paste
Two 28-oz. cans whole plum tomatoes, chopped with their liquid
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, bay leaf, oregano, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pot from burning. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
VIDEO FLASHBACK: PEOPLE’s Time Machine with Drew Barrymore