If you’re ready to up your meatball game, help is on the way. Danny Grant, chef/partner at Scottsdale’s newest steakhouse, Maple & Ash, is sharing his incomparable dry-aged meatball recipe with Desert Digest readers.
Some tips from Grant: If you can’t get your hands on dry-aged ground beef, regular ground beef will do. Same goes for the cheese curds. You can substitute readily available fontina or ciliegine mozzarella (small balls of fresh mozzarella). Also, when making the meatballs, use a scale or a 2 oz. ice cream scoop to measure the meat and roll gently, but firmly.
Grant, a two-star Michelin chef, says this is a good recipe for entertaining at home. “It’s easy and delish as always. And, it can be made as an appetizer with smaller sized balls.” Serve with garlic bread for the win.
1 lb. dry-aged ground beef (a mixture of chuck, brisket, tri-tip)
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup bread, cubed
1/8 cup milk
¼ cup fontina, cubed
1/8 cup parmesan, grated
1/8 cup ricotta
3/4 cup cheese curds
1/2 tsp. red wine
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 sprig thyme, stem discarded
1/2 sprig oregano, stem discarded
½ tbsp. salt
½ tbsp. pepper
1. Combine ground beef with onions, garlic, fontina, and salt in a large bowl.
2. In a blender, combine egg, bread, milk, parmesan, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano and pepper and blend on low power until smooth.
3. Add contents of blender to the beef mixture and fold in, adding red wine and ricotta as you go.
4. Roll into 1.5-inch meatballs in a cast iron skillet and bake at 400 degrees until crispy (usually 8-10 minutes). Top with marinara sauce and cheese curds. Bake for another 3-4 minutes until cheese is partially melted.
Marinara Sauce Recipe
2 28 oz. cans peeled, chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. red chili flakes
2 sprigs basil, whole
1 tsp. salt
1. Crush the canned tomatoes in a bowl using your hands, reserving the liquid.
2. Heat a pan over med-high heat. Add olive oil. Once oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 mins, or until onion is translucent.
3. Add crushed tomatoes with the reserved liquid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 45 mins.
4. Add the whole basil, salt, and chili flakes. Cook for another 20 mins on low.
5. Remove basil, and pour the sauce over the dry-aged meatballs.