RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Italian Stallion Burger

The idea for this burger originated from a picnic we had for my niece at one of her soccer games. The original idea was that we were going to have antipasti with some focaccia. That morning my wife and I stopped by the supermarket, intending to pick up some nice olives, some different cheeses and some salami. Well, my family lives in a rural area of Minnesota, and we didn’t realize that supermarkets in this area didn’t have olive bars and a lot of the prepared foods we were looking for. So we went about fire-roasting our own vegetables to go along with the salami, bread, and cheese we had picked up. After a little while snacking on various items, everyone agreed that a sandwich with the red peppers, garlic, and salami was a winner. After hearing about this contest, we went about trying to convert this idea to a burger. We had to find something interesting to season the patties and keep them moist, and after some trial and error we found that the combination of parmesan and pancetta mixed with the meat gave us the flavor, juiciness and tenderness we were looking for. We hope you enjoy our burgers as much as we have.


3 red bell peppers
3 heads of garlic
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt, ground
2 1/4 lbs. ground chuck
6 Tbs. pancetta, cubed
6 Tbs. parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp. sea salt, ground
2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil to brush on grill
6 slices sharp provolone cheese
6 herb focaccia rolls
36 leaves of fresh baby arugula


Over high heat, roast red peppers until skin is blackened, turning frequently (5-10 minutes). Set peppers aside in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap to sweat. When the peppers have cooled enough to handle (approximately 20 minutes), peel charred skin from peppers, remove seeds, and cut into 1/4 inch strips. Cut bottom 1/4 inch off garlic heads and drizzle the exposed cloves with olive oil. Wrap heads, oil side up with aluminum foil and place on grill over medium heat. Cover grill and cook 45 minutes, until garlic is soft. Remove garlic from grill, unwrap foil and squeeze garlic cloves out of skins into small bowl and mash with a fork. HINT: Use the aluminum foil to protect fingers from heat of garlic. Season the mashed garlic to taste with salt, about 1 tsp. Combine ground chuck, pancetta, and parmesan cheese in large bowl and mix by hand. Evenly divide mixture 6 ways and form patties 3/4 inch thick. Sprinkle patties with salt and black pepper. Brush grill with vegetable oil. Cook burgers over medium heat until browned on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Flip burgers, cook an additional 2 minutes. Top burgers with provolone cheese and cook with grill covered until cheese is melted, approximately 2 minutes. Slice focaccia rolls and place face-down on grill on medium heat. Cover and cook until buns are warm and faces are golden brown, about 2 minutes. To prepare burgers divide peppers evenly over the bottom half of the buns. Top with patties and 6 leaves of arugula. Spread 1 Tbs. of garlic mixture over top half of the buns and place on top of arugula. Serve immediately.


The focaccia rolls used for the burgers are my wife’s own recipe. She starts with a basic focaccia dough and adds about a tablespoon each of fresh chopped sage, rosemary and thyme to the dough. 5 oz. of the dough are formed into a round for each roll, which are brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt before baking. Any focaccia cut to the size of the burgers yields satisfactory results, but nothing quite compares to the fresh-baked rolls.