Zesty Italian Burgers
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5 from 8 votes

Zesty Italian Burgers

Zesty Italian Burgers - A fun take on classic hamburgers with pancetta, smoked mozzarella, grilled onions, and pesto piled on a ciabatta roll!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 809kcal
Author: Sommer Collier


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 8 slices pancetta
  • 4 ounces basil pesto (or make your own!)
  • 1 large ball smoked mozzarella
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin rounds
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • Baby arugula
  • ripe tomato slices
  • 4 ciabatta buns


  • Heat the grill to high. Divide the ground beef into 4 portions. Salt and pepper the patties. Layer each patty with a slice of pancetta on top and bottom. Press the pancetta into each patty.
  • Cut the onion and mozzarella into rounds. Melt the butter and mix it with the tomato paste and anchovy paste. Cut the ciabatta buns and brush the insides with tomato-butter.
  • Carefully brush the grill with oil or use non-stick grill spray. Grill the patties and onions at the same time. Grill the patties for 3-5 minutes per side and the onions for 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Once you flip the burgers, lay the onion rounds over the top of each patty, followed by the mozzarella slices. The cheese will melt while the burgers finish cooking.
  • Place the buns on the open grill and toast for 1 minute. Once the buns are toasted, slather them with pesto. Layer arugula leaves, tomato slices and a patty on each bun. Top and serve!


Basic Pesto Ingredients (if making pesto from scratch): 
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and pecorino in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


Serving: 1burger | Calories: 809kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 925mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 635IU | Vitamin C: 2.7mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 3.8mg