Last Friday Steve and I went on a college visit with our son, Alex. He’s going to be a senior this year, so he’ll be applying to schools starting this fall. We’ve been through the college visit thing twice before with Nicole and Kelly and we’ve got it down to a nice routine. We like to visit the schools in the summer because there’s a good chance the weather will be nice (we call it our “college bubble”) and we like to visit in the morning because then we can go out for lunch afterward and talk about our first impressions.
So what does this have to do with burgers? Well, since we’d gone out for lunch, we weren’t going to go out for dinner, so I needed to come up with something for dinner. I wasn’t coming up with any ideas, so on the way home from the visit, I asked Steve and Alex if they were hungry for anything. Alex suggested that I make my Sicilian Meatloaf. I wasn’t crazy about that idea because it sounded too heavy for a summer evening, plus I didn’t really want to use the oven. But the suggestion did lead to a great idea. We’d talked before about making a meatloaf and then grilling the slices. Well, once again that would have involved baking a meatloaf first, which I didn’t want to do. That’s when I thought, why not make the meatloaf mixture and turn it into burgers?
It worked out perfectly! I made basically the same recipe that I make for my meatloaf, but formed the mixture into burgers. Steve grilled them for me and when they were almost done, transferred them to a cookie sheet and put it back on the grill. Then we topped the burgers with marinara sauce and mozzerella cheese. Once the cheese was melted, I put the burgers on top of thick slices of grilled Italian bread and topped everything with some fresh basil.
The burgers were delicious!! They had all the flavors of my Sicilian Meatloaf, plus the smoky flavor from the grill AND my kitchen stayed cool!
Grilled Italian Meatloaf Burgers
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lbs ground beef (I used 90% lean)
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 1 egg
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
- marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzerella
- 1 loaf Italian bread
- 12-15 large basil leaves
Finely chop red pepper, onion and garlic. Heat oil in a pan over medium low heat. Saute veggies until they are soft and onions are translucent. About 7 minutes. Allow to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, add sauteed vegetables, ground beef, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, egg, tomato paste, salt and pepper. With hands, mix until well combined. Form into 4 patties.
Heat grill to medium high heat. While grill is heating, prepare the bread. Cut the loaf in half lengthwise and then cut into 4 equal pieces (I only had 3 pieces because there were just 3 of us). Drizzle each piece with a little olive oil.
Once grill is hot, grill burgers about 5-7 minutes per side until cooked through. Grill bread slices for a couple of minutes on each side until nicely toasted. Once burgers are done, transfer them to a cookie sheet and put back on the grill.
Top each burger with a couple tablespoons marinara and a couple tablespoons mozzerella cheese.
Close the lid on the grill and cook until cheese is melted. Put each burger on top of a slice of the grilled bread and top with chopped basil. To cut the basil into thin strips (a chiffonade), follow these instructions:
Stack the leaves on top of each other.
Roll the leaves up into a tight bundle like this.
Cut crosswise into small strips.
Serve burgers immediately, fork and knife required!
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