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Mangia Margherita burger

This burger is a proud Italian-American, bringing the traditionally American hamburger together with some uniquely Italian tastes. My great-grandfather grew "basilico" (basil) in a small garden on the side of our home, and I can't help but equate the smell of fresh basil with my memories of him. Like him, this burger is Italian to the core, and he would urge you to eat - mangia!


Garlic bread:
1 loaf of Italian bread (a fresh, crusty loaf is ideal)
12 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp Colavita olive oil
1 lb chuck
1 lb sirloin
3 tbsp Sutter Home white zinfandel
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 ½ tbsp oregano
1 ½ tbsp Italian parsley
1 ½ tsp salt (increase to 2 tsp if using low-salt cheese(s))
¾ tsp pepper
6oz fresh mozzarella cheese
vegetable oil, to spread on grill rack
12 slices of Roma tomato
18 large basil leaves


Heat grill to medium-high heat. To make garlic bread, first slice Italian loaf lengthwise. Use a garlic press to crush garlic and mix into olive oil. Brush garlic-oil mixture over the insides of the loaf. Reassemble loaf, wrap in foil, and set on the grill to toast. To make the patties, combine chuck, sirloin, white zinfandel, Parmesan cheese, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix well, being careful not to compact the beef. Divide mixture into six equal portions and form into patties. Cut mozzarella into 6 1-ounce slices and set aside. Brush vegetable oil on the grill rack. Cook the patties for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare burgers. Flip the burgers only once during cooking. During the final minutes of cooking, place one slice over each patty; cover and allow cheese to melt. Slice garlic loaf into six pieces, then each piece lengthwise to create buns for the patties. To assemble burgers, place each patty on a garlic loaf bottom. Top with 2 slices of Roma tomato, 3 basil leaves, and garlic loaf top. Makes 6 burgers.