Sunday, April 14, 2013

Italian Stuffed Burgers

I've been talking lately with my coworker about the possibility of opening a food truck specializing in stuffed burgers. The problem for me when I talk about ideas like this is that it's difficult to limit myself. I want to cook everything. But I must adjust myself to practical concerns like inventory and time.

Here, though, is an item I think we could market quite well. With spaghetti and meatballs in mind, I created a burger stuffed with fresh mozzarella and slow-roasted roma tomatoes and served on toasted garlic buns. I did hope--for poetic reasons--that noodles would work as a topping. I have been told vehemently that they would not.

The slow-roasted tomatoes sat in for the desired marinara element, bringing that juicy tomato flavor without oozing out of the patty.

I fried the pancetta, pressing down on it to render grease, and then cooked the burgers in this flavorful oil.

To go alongside the burgers, I chopped up some red potatoes and sprinkled them with herbs and olive oil, then roasted them for close to an hour.

The hamburger buns were simply sprinkled with garlic powder and then popped in the toaster.

Then we assembled the burgers and ate--before we "snacked" on too much of the mozzarella and tomatoes.

The Italians certainly know how to meld their flavors.

Italian Stuffed Burgers
Serves 4. 

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons garlic powder
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, chopped
6 small rounds of pancetta
4 hamburger buns, halved, dusted with garlic powder, and toasted

4 roma tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

6 small red potatoes, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil

Parsley (for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 200. Place quartered tomatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with herbs, balsamic, and olive oil. Roast for 2  hours.
2. When the tomatoes are almost done, mix together ground beef, minced shallots, oregano, and garlic powder.
3. Remove tomatoes from oven. Increase oven temperature to 400. Spread potatoes out on another baking sheet and coat with rosemary and olive oil. Roast in oven for 45 minutes.
4. Form thin burger patties, then top half the patties with mozzarella and a roasted tomato. Place an unadorned patty on top, then crimp the edges together to fully seal.
5. Fry pancetta in a medium skillet, pressing down to render grease. Once cooked, set pancetta aside and cook burger patties in the rendered oil.
6. Assemble burgers on toasted garlic buns, then top with pancetta--and another roasted roma if desired! Serve roasted potatoes on the side.


  1. these burgers look really good. I think u should go for the food truck idea. U can run crazy ideas as a specialty and try new things. Portion the burgers into half size portions and cook your stuffing as your "mise en place" and to order assemble. You could easily run with 10-15 unique stuffed burgers. Get a sandwich cooler like subway has and put your different stuffing in there

  2. Great idea! I'd love to make this into a reality.