RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Nostalgia Pizza Burgers

When I was in grade school, my dad the pilot was stationed at Hanscom Field Air Force Base in Massachusetts. Weekly we drove an hour or so to eat at Shakey’s Pizza (a pizza chain just starting up back then, and gone now). Having lived in the Western U.S., with its great distances, and then England, separated from the rest of Europe, crossing state lines to eat dinner in New Hampshire was a big adventure for me. Doubly so, since the American-style pizza was a great treat after three years of European food. (I remember my shock the first time I ate a true Italian pizza: the crust was thick, the sauce was made with chunks of real tomato, and they had funny mushrooms!)

When taking this trip down memory lane, I also remembered the way we made quickie homemade pizzas: bottled spaghetti sauce on a toasted English muffin half, with cheese, canned mushrooms, and black olives (pepperoni, too, if we had it), all toasted together under the broiler. Similarly, I mixed together those ideas for this recipe.

I put the sausage inside the burger with the beef, and I corralled the veggie toppings inside a ring of bell pepper, then substituted an English muffin for the bun/pizza crust. And, of course, it’s just not pizza without pepperoni, is it?

Ingredients 

1 1/2 lb ground chuck
1/2 lb mild Italian sausage
2 Tb prepared pizza sauce (homemade or bottled)
2 Tb Sutter Home zinfandel
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz provolone cheese, grated
18 slices pepperoni

3/8-3/4 cup pizza sauce (as desired)
6 green bell pepper rings
4 oz can sliced mushrooms
4 oz can sliced black olives
6 English muffins, split
6 slices mozzarella cheese (about 6 oz.)
grated parmesan cheese

Instructions 

Preheat gas grill to medium-high. In a medium-sized bowl, mix ground beef and Italian sausage with 2 Tb pizza sauce, wine, basil, oregano, and garlic. Form into 12 thin patties, sized to fit the English muffins. Lay three slices of pepperoni on patties. Sprinkle cheese evenly over pepperoni. Place remaining beef patties on top of patties with cheese and pepperoni. Seal edges. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill and cook, turning once, until done to your preference (5 to 8 minutes on each side). During the last few minutes of cooking, place the English muffins, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast lightly. Just before burgers are done, lay a slice of mozzarella on each patty and allow to melt. Remove from heat, top each burger with green pepper ring, and put the mushrooms and black olives inside, dividing among the burgers. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Spread 1 to 2 Tb of pizza sauce on bottom muffin half. Top with burgers and other muffin half. Serves six hungry people. Drink the rest of the Sutter Home zinfandel with burgers.