I don’t watch much TV in general, and we actually don’t even have cable at our house. However, Food Network is my guilty pleasure whenever we visit my dad. Some shows don’t interest me, but I do have a few favorites. A few weeks ago when we were there, I happened to catch a marathon of the “Next Food Network Star” episodes. I found it quite amusing for the most part, but one of the episodes that really interested me was one where all the contestants had to come up with a unique burger idea. This version from the contestant Michael Proietti consists of a hamburger patty stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese, wrapped in pancetta and served on a garlic bread bun with basil ketchup. WOW! Ben and I were both drooling just watching the show, and I knew we had to try this. It certainly did not disappoint.
The recipe shown on the Food Network website calls only for ground beef in the burger part of the patty – no salt, pepper or other seasoning. Ick! So, I decided to use my traditional favorite burger recipe for the meat portion and then use that as a jumping off point. Now that I have had them, I know exactly what I will do next time to adjust the seasonings correctly and make the meat an Italian blend as well. I will use a bit of balsamic vinegar in place of the Worcestershire sauce, cut down the black pepper and mix in some dried herbs to the meat mixture. (I have reflected these changes in my recipe below). Also, I will stuff a few whole basil leaves inside each patty along with the mozzarella, because I can never get enough fresh basil! Not surprisingly, I could not find garlic bread buns anywhere in our grocery store, so I used some nice Kaiser rolls spread with garlic butter. This garlic butter is a staple that I try to have in my fridge at all times, and it really put these burgers over the top. I love a good classic burger, but this genius idea is definitely a new favorite!