RECIPES: Recipe Details

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The Siracusan

This burger was inspired by the naming of my home town: Syracsue, N.Y. In the early years of the 19th century, as the city was evolving, the local poastmaster read about a city in Sicily, called Siracusa. he was struck by the similarities between the two cities, and our town became known as Syracuse. Later in years Syracuse became home to many people of Italian heritage. I grew up with many Italian friends and enjoying great Italian restuarants. My burger has an Italian bent, just like my home town.


1 6-oz can of tomato paste
1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in olive oil with garlic and herbs
1/2 cup Sutter Home Merlot
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casting and crumbed into small bits
1 large sprig rosemary, finely chopped
3 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing grill rack
6 slices provolone cheese
12 thin slices smoked prosciutto
6 kaiser rolls with sesame seeds
3 cups pre-washed packaged baby romaine leaves


Preheat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.

To make the roasted tomato sauce with Merlot: Combine tomato paste, roasted tomatoes in olive oil, Merlot, water and crushed red pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

To make the patties: Combine the ground chuck, Italian sausage, rosemary, sage, garlic, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Mix well, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls.

When the grill is hot, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place 1 slice of provolone, then 2 slices smoked prosciutto on top of each patty during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers: Place a generous amount of the roasted tomato sauce over the cut sides of the rolls. On the bottom half of the roll, layer the baby romaine and the cheese-prosciutto topped patties. Add the roll tops and serve.


This burger can make an Italian out of anyone.