Wine Varietal: Merlot
Our small Midwest farming community of 964 townsfolk has limited access to international cuisine, but most families put out a garden every year so there are plenty of tomatoes, onions, and peppers for spaghetti sauces. My Mama Mia! burger takes advantage of our our garden produce but with an Italian flair.
½ bag Italian salad mix, finely cut chiffonade (about 5 oz.)
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/3 cup pitted, sliced kalamata olives
2 Bermuda onions, 1 (small) grated, 1 (small) finely chopped
1 cup creamy Italian salad dressing
1½ pounds ground chuck
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup thick tomato-basil spaghetti sauce, heated in saucepan on grill
½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
6 large garlic buns, split
6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese (1/4 to ½-inch thickness)
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Combine salad mix, tomato, olives, and grated Bermuda onion in medium bowl. Drizzle with ½ cup salad dressing and toss to just coat mixture. Set aside. To make the patties, combine chopped onion, ground chuck, egg, ½ cup spaghetti sauce, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly, but do not compact meat. Form mixture into six equal patties; brush tops with some of the remaining Italian salad dressing. When grill is ready, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook until done, about 6-8 minutes per side, turning patties once, during grilling. (Brush top of turned patties with Italian dressing.) During last minutes of grilling, place buns on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly, turning once. To assemble burgers, place a mozzarella slice on bottom half of bun. Place hamburger patty on top of mozzarella slice. Spoon about 1 tablespoon hot spaghetti sauce over hamburger, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Top with salad then cover with bun top. Makes 6 burgers.