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The Gourmand’s Florentine and Water Chestnut Filled Burger with Fresh Mozarella

Satisfying my family's differing taste buds is never an easy project to undertake, but hamburger's always seem to fit the bill. From artichokes to zucchini, you can put anything into or onto a hamburger. This recipe won the heart of my son, Nathanael. At only 6, he's definitely the hardest in my family to feed (especially if it's not mac-n-cheese). So when he asked me for more, I knew I had a winner. I wanted to make a burger filled with one of my favorite dips, but I had to make some alterations so that it would bring more flavor to the ground beef. To accomplish this I decided to use cream cheese instead of mayonnaise. After that, it was just a matter of deciding how to make sure it wouldn't spill out on the grill. To keep with the "Florentine" theme I decided to use the ciabatta rolls, tomatoes, and mozzarella.


2 Tbsp Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 package Vegetable recipe mix
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeeze dried
3 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 lbs 85% lean ground beef
1/3 cup Sutter Home Merlot
3 tsp kosher salt
1½ tsp fresh ground pepper
3 ciabatta rolls
3 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 (8 oz) ball Mozzarella Cheese, sliced into 6 - 1/4” slices
12 slices of “on the vine” tomatoes


Brush olive oil on grill racks and heat the grill to 400°. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream; add vegetable recipe mix, water chestnuts, spinach and green onions; set aside. In a large bowl gently combine garlic, ground beef, Merlot, salt and ground pepper. Shape mixture into 12 patties, thinner in the middle than on the sides. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of the spinach mixture onto the center of 6 patties; spread slightly. Top with remaining patties; press edges together firmly to seal. Once the grill reaches 400°, place patties and cover grill for 8-10 minutes, turning once, until thermometer inserted into the side of patties reads 160° (avoid inserting into filling). While patties are cooking, cut the ciabatta rolls horizontally and butter each cut side. During last minute of cooking the patties, place ciabatta rolls on grill, and place a slice of mozzarella on each patty. To assemble the burgers, place bottom half of freshly grilled ciabatta roll onto a plate, top with 2 slices of tomatoes, and 1 hamburger. Serve open faced with a knife and fork. Makes 6 burgers.