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Tips from the Kitchen: Meatballs in Cumin Cream Sauce

June 11, 2015
by Cornelia Hoskin

Nancy Petino has been a site host at Beverly Cove Community Center in Beverly for about a year, and has been a partner family since January of 2012. She lives in Beverly with her husband and son, who is 5 3/4 years old, and their pet bunny, Carrot Cake. When I asked a few questions, she replied:

“Hmmmm….my favorite FTY item?? I am honestly not sure I can pick just one—but if I have to it would be the whole chickens (it’s usually what I rave most about to get people to join FTY)….followed closely by the raviolis (any flavor), and the heavy cream…oh, the heavy cream (drool). See, I couldn’t pick just one.”

“I have two favorite cookbooks: one is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and my Aunt Evelyn’s copy of the Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook (first edition, second printing) from 1950 that has my aunt’s notes written in it. I love that book.”
My son actually “helps” with the site host duties by playing with the other children who come to pick up (so their parents can visit for a few minutes), talking peoples’ ears off, and “organizing” the totes when we start to clean up. He’s also learning that it takes a lot of people to grow and make healthy food and their efforts are important to our lives. At least I hope he’s learning that.”

Nancy inspires us with her all-Farmers To You recipes and we wanted to share them with you. There are several ideas here that are great jumping-off points for other meal ideas:

Meatballs – made small and packed with garlic and herbs, bound together with one egg. They can be baked in the oven or stewed in a sauce (no browning required!) Any ground meat — turkey, beef, lamb, duck(!) — can be used for meatballs.

Cream sauce – Nancy played off of the Moroccan spices in the ravioli and added cumin to her simple bechamel sauce. Imagine the possibilities. If you’re not familiar with making a roux and subsequent white sauce, watch the video below for a quick tutorial. Add shredded cheese and toss with rigatoni, greens for a salad and you have a simple family meal for under $10.

Picnic-style meals – Nancy mentions bread, cheese and sliced tomatoes that make a complete meal. Yes, indeed! Add a treat of pickled beets or quartered hard-boiled eggs and the flavors will astound!


Ground lamb meatballs in a cumin cream sauce over arugula and Moroccan braised carrot & chickpea ravioli.

(FTY ingredients on top, non FTY ingredients under the line)

For the meat balls:

1 pound ground lamb

1 egg


1/4 C. bread crumbs

pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cumin

ground pepper, to taste

put all ingredients together into a bowl and combine, form into meat balls (you should get about 16) and bake in 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the Moroccan Braised Carrot & Chick Pea raviolis

 For cumin cream sauce:

1 tbs butter (salted or unsalted)

1 tbs flour

1-2 cups milk or cream

1 dollop cream cheese or plain yogurt


salt and pepper to taste

1 – 2 teaspoons cumin

1. make a roux with the butter and flour adding salt, pepper and half the cumin as roux is nearly done…

2. slowly add the milk or cream, combining to thicken until desired consistency for sauce (thicker sauce add less, thinner add more). (*See below video for more on this technique!)

3.Finish by melting in small dollop of cream cheese (or can use plain yogurt for more tang)

Adjust flavors by adding more cumin, salt, pepper as desired.

To serve:

Plate raviolis with a handful of arugula on top, pour sauce over the raviolis and arugula, then place 3 or 4 meatballs on top.  Serves 3 – 4.

Can sub spinach for arugula if you like.

Also, simple tomato salad is another staple in our house (now that tomatoes are back):

two or three ripe tomatoes, sliced into wedges

one clove of garlic, finely minced

three basil leaves, chiffonade


tablespoon of olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  The salt will draw the liquid out of the tomatoes which will mix with the olive oil to form the dressing.  Give a light toss before serving with crusty bread and sliced cheese (our favorite is the three seed baguette and the Savage cheese)

It doesn’t get more simple that one! 🙂

You can also toss the bread (cut into cubes) into the salad just before serving instead if you want – which turns it into a lovely side dish with grilled fish.