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MEATLOAF BURGER ITALIAN STYLE WITH SHAVED PARMIGIANO REGGIANO AND HERB & TOMATO BUTTER

This burger creation is a version of my mother's Italian meatloaf which we often ate between bread! I incorporated eggplant and sweet pepper into the ground beef with the perfect amounts of fresh garlic and fresh basil for a moist seasoned burger. The "shaved pieces" of Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil leaves are a fantastic combination of flavors and perfect toppers-very Italian! You will love the crunch of salted roasted almonds in the herb & tomato butter. Enjoy with a glass of Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ingredients 

PATTIES:
2 pounds ground beef chuck
2 large cloves garlic-finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup coarsely chopped Eggplant & Sweet Pepper (from jar-drained & loosely measured (Colavita Don dell'Olivo)
1/3 cup soft Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
HERB AND TOMATO BUTTER
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley leaves (no stems)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped Colavita (Don dell'Olivo) sun-dried tomatoes-well drained, from jar
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped roasted & salted whole almonds
1-1/4 teaspoons salt for patties
Vegetable oil to brush grill grate
6 large sesame seed Kaiser rolls-split
3 ounces shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
12 fresh basil leaves

Instructions 

To make patties, combine chuck, garlic, salt, chopped basil, grated cheese, eggplant & peppers, breadcrumbs and wine in a large bowl. Mix ingredients together, handling as little as possible. Divide meat mixture into 6 portions. Form patties just a bit larger than buns and make a dimple in the middle of each patty. Cover and refrigerate patties 30 minutes. To make herb & tomato butter, combine butter, olive oil, parsley, oregano, fennel, salt and sun-dried tomatoes into a food processor; puree until smooth, scraping down sides several times during processing. Transfer spread to a small bowl and stir in almonds. Set aside until needed. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with cover or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To cook patties, retrieve patties from refrigerator after 30 minutes. Lightly salt patties with a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt per side. Brush a perforated flat grill grate with vegetable oil. Place grate on grill rack, cover grill and cook patties over medium-hot fire until bottoms are browned-about 4 minutes. Turn patties; cook covered for 4 to 5 minutes for medium or until desired doneness. Transfer patties to a plate. Place rolls cut side down on grill grate over direct heat; lightly toast. Remove from heat once toasted. To assemble burgers, spread about a tablespoon of herb and tomato butter over roll bottom, top with a patty, shaved cheese (dividing cheese equally among burgers) and 2 leaves of fresh basil. Cover with roll top and serve. 6 burgers

Comments 

I grind the fennel seeds in a small coffee grinder and although the herb & tomato butter calls for only 1/2 teaspoon, I grind at least 1 teaspoon or more at a time-they grind better. I use the remaining ground fennel to sprinkle over salads. No substitutes for the Parmigiano Reggiano-this cheese is can usually found in most supermarkets.