The Washington Post

'Italian' Burgers

'Italian' Burgers 6.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Sunday Supper Jul 19, 2018

What makes this burger Italian, asks Sara Moulton? The crispy prosciutto (we would have used bacon), followed by the mushrooms sauteed with rosemary and garlic, topped with Taleggio (one of her favorite Italian cheeses), and all of it piled onto large slices of bruschetta (Italian grilled bread).

This is a certifiably rich combination, but the ingredient that takes it over the top is the truffle oil. Italians might agree that the touch is "un po troppo"; you can use it or lose it.

Make Ahead: The mushrooms can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated a day or two in advance. The prosciutto can be crisped in advance.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces assorted sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic, plus 1 clove cut in half
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Twelve 4-inch wide slices rustic bread
  • 1/2 teaspoon good-quality truffle oil, or as needed (optional)
  • Six 6-ounce burger patties (80-20 ground beef or ground chuck)
  • 6 ounces Taleggio cheese, coarsely grated (may substitute Fontina; see NOTES)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the prosciutto on it in a single layer; bake (middle rack) for 12 minutes. Cool completely, during which time the prosciutto will crisp up.

Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (about 450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, use a metal chimney to prepare your charcoal or wood briquettes; once the charcoal is gray and glowing red, distribute the briquettes evenly under the cooking area. The grill should be ready when you can place your hand about 6 inches over the grates for 3 to 4 seconds without pulling it away.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms, rosemary, the minced garlic and a pinch of salt; reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have started to turn golden. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the wine; cook until it has evaporated, then season lightly with pepper and remove from the heat.

Brush both sides of the bread slices lightly with extra-virgin olive oil. Place on the grate and grill (uncovered) for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until they are nicely marked. Rub one side of each grilled slice with one of the cut sides of the garlic clove. Place 2 grilled slices of bread on each plate.

Stir the truffle oil into the cooled mushrooms.

Brush the burger patties lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Place the burgers on the grate; grill (uncovered) for 3 minutes. Turn the burgers over; close the lid and grill them for 2 minutes.

Working quickly, top each burger with one-sixth of the mushroom mixture, equal portions of the crispy prosciutto, and, last, the cheese. Close the lid and cook until the cheese has melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Sandwich the burgers between the grilled bread and serve.

NOTES: Semi-soft cheeses such as Taleggio are easier to grate when you place them in the freezer for 30 minutes beforehand.

The USDA recommends cooking ground meat until it’s well done. If you follow the directions carefully for this recipe your burger will come out medium to medium-rare, which is how Moulton likes them. If you prefer your burgers more rare than well done, be sure to buy your meat from a reliable source. Better yet, grind it yourself in a meat grinder. If you don’t own a grinder, cut the meat (Moulton prefers cuts from the shoulder or chuck) into 1-inch cubes and freeze it for 30 minutes. Then, working with one-third of the meat at a time, pulse it in a food processor until it’s ground to about 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces.

Recipe Source

From cookbook author Sara Moulton.

Tested by Andrew Sikkenga.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 630

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 34g 52%

Saturated Fat: 14g 70%

Cholesterol: 130mg 43%

Sodium: 1080mg 45%

Total Carbohydrates: 31g 10%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 1g

Protein: 47g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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