Saturday, January 7, 2017

Double Pizza Burger with Sweet Peppers

     Make It A Double!
     Long before the gourmet burger craze began, the only option for an out of the ordinary burger was the classic Pizza Burger or a BBQ Burger.  Before the late 1970's, mainstream restaurants were not really into fancy toppings for burgers.  Bleu Cheese was about the only option for a fancy Cheeseburger.  Combinations of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise were the only choice of sauce unless a restaurant had barbecue sauce on the menu.  Grilled onions, mushrooms and bacon were practically the only cooked burger toppings back in those days.
      Back in the 1960's through the 1980's, a fast food style chain restaurant called Gino's featured the Pizza Burger as its marquis creation.  At first, the Pizza Burgers at this fast food chain were great, but as time moved on, the quality of their Pizza Burgers became unappealing.  Soon this fast food chain ended up being a place to avoid.   
     Because the Pizza Burger was a good idea, many Italian restaurants offered a Pizza Burger as a lunch menu item back in the 1970's and 1980's.  The first Italian restaurant that I apprenticed in actually had a Pizza Burger on the lunch menu.  The owner of that Italian restaurant was Sicilian and he liked pizza burgers made with his perfection tomato sauces and hand crafted Italian Bread Burger Rolls.  
     As far as fast food was concerned, the Sicilian chef drew the line with French Fries.  We offered no French Fries on the menu, because they were French!  The charismatic Sicilian owner would go through the comical act of blowing a fuse every time that a customer asked for French Fries.  He would stand in the dining room and scold the waiter, so the conversation about a French Fry request could be overheard by the customers.  He used every hand gesture in the book while saying, "What do you think this is?  Some kind of a French restaurant or something?  If they want potatoes, offer them Gnocchi!"   
     After the first gourmet burger trend faded away in the mid 1980's, it seemed like Pizza Burgers disappeared from nearly every restaurant menu.  The Pizza Burger did survive, because it was popular family meal in home kitchens nationwide.  The flavors of tomato sauce and mozzarella on a burger are very appealing.  Pizza Burgers were a meal that nearly every burger loving family enjoyed. 
     A good juicy Pizza Burger is like biting into a tasty sloppy meatball sub!  Cheese, tomato sauce and burger juices drip over the chin and all over the place.  A Pizza Burger is not exactly a neat tidy meal.  This is part of the charm!  
     For those readers that really miss the good old days of classic Pizza Burgers, today's Double Pizza Burger recipe will put a smile on your face!  Yes, I think so highly of the Italian Pizza Burger that I made it a double!  

     Shiny Hamburger and Slider Rolls Recipe:
     Shiny hamburger rolls are a good option and they are fairly easy to make.  They add a classy look to a gourmet burger and they have a nice texture.  Follow the link to the recipe in this website:

     Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe: 
     The better the tomato sauce, the better the Pizza Burger will be!  Follow the link to the recipe in this website:
     • Salsa di Pomodoro

     Sweet Peppers:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 burger. 
     Ripe orange, yellow and red bell peppers have a naturally "sweet" flavor. 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add about 1 cup (1 handful) of mixed yellow, orange and red sweet bell peppers that are cut into 1/4" wide strips.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Step 2:  Briefly sauté till the sweet peppers become tender.  (Try not to brown the sweet peppers!)
     Keep the sweet pepper strips warm on a stove top.
     Double Pizza Burger with Sweet Peppers:
     This recipe yields 1 large double pizza burger.
     Step 1:  Place 8 ounces of ground sirloin beef in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of plain fine bread crumbs.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Divide the Italian Burger mixture into 2 equal portions.
     Press the burger portions into patty shapes that are slightly wider than the burger roll.  
     *Always allow for shrinkage when making burger patties.  A patty that shrinks smaller than the burger roll after cooking does look awkward, so it is best to make the raw patties a little bit wider than the burger bun!
     Chill the burger patties in a refrigerator for 20 minutes, so the herb flavors meld.  
     Step 3:  Place about 1/3 cup of the Italian Tomato Sauce in a small sauce pot.
     Gently warm the sauce over low heat.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Step 4:  Split a Shiny Burger Roll open and warm it in a 350ºF oven, while the burger cooks.
     Step 5:  Heat a seasoned cast iron griddle or chargrill to medium/medium high temperature.
     Place the 2 Italian Burger Patties on the grill.
     Grill the burger patties till they are cooked to the temperature of your preference.  
     *Pizza Burgers are best when cooked medium well to well done. 
     Step 6:  Place the cooked burger patties on a small roasting pan.
     Place 1 slice of Provolone Cheese on each burger patty.
     Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the cheese softens and starts to melt.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the oven.  
     Place about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Italian Tomato Sauce on each burger patty.
     Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated Formaggio Piave Vecchio (or Parmigiana Cheese) over the tomato sauce.
     Step 7:  Stack the 2 pizza burger patties on the bottom half of the burger roll.
     Place the sautéed sweet pepper strips on top of the pizza burger stack.
     Set the Double Pizza Burger on a plate.
     Lean the top half of the Shiny Burger Roll against the Double Pizza Burger.
     Serve with petite portion of Italian giardiniera.  

     A big Double Pizza Burger with Sweet Peppers dripping with tomato sauce and oozing melted Provolone Cheese is pure gourmet burger heaven!    

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