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Zesty Italian Burgers

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Rich Zesty Italian Burgers layered with pancetta, smoked mozzarella, pesto, and grilled onions. 

Zesty Italian Burgers | ASpicyPerspective.com
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We Americans like our comfort food.

We are always trying to turn the unfamiliar into the familiar. You have to agree, this is better than the old tradition of shunning the unfamiliar altogether.

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American fusion food is a great example of this new-found fascination.

Dishes such as Mexican pizza and Asian-style hot dogs are just the beginning of our efforts to bring world flavors into the main stream. You can hardly go out-to-eat without seeing menus with ingredients from all over the globe. What an exciting time in culinary history!

Making Zesty Italian Burgers | ASpicyPerspective.com

Italian food has made its way, full-force, into the heart of America.

Very few people here would ever think of it as an exotic style of cooking. Americans eat pizza, pasta, cured meats, and cheese in enormous amounts, probably only comparable to the eating habits of, let’s say…Italians!?

How to Make Zesty Italian Burgers | ASpicyPerspective.com

So I thought it would be fun to take the comforting flavors of Italy and layer them, like a warm fuzzy blanket, over the only thing that might be even more comforting. A hamburger.

Introducing Zesty Italian Burgers. A combinations of all my favorite Italian flavors in one meaty sandwich!

Zesty Italian Burger Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com

These Zesty Italian Burgers are piled with smoked mozzarella cheese, pesto, pancetta, grilled red onions, ripe tomato slices, arugula and tomato-butter on a ciabatta bun.

Zesty Italian Burgers are glorious dripping towers of international bliss. American style!

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Zesty Italian Burgers
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5 from 8 votes
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Zesty Italian Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Zesty Italian Burgers - A fun take on classic hamburgers with pancetta, smoked mozzarella, grilled onions, and pesto piled on a ciabatta roll!
Servings: 4



  • 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
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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55 comments on “Zesty Italian Burgers”

  1. Pingback: 15 Ciabatta Sandwich Recipes (Best Ideas to Try) – jnhsandwiches.com

  2. I usually don’t bother rating recipes but this one is special! I am low carb so I used one piece of low carb bread to grill with the tomato butter and top with the pesto. The flavor combination in this recipe makes an epic burger! Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Rays of Sunshine #191 | Recipes and Ramblings with the Tumbleweed Contessa

  4. This reminds me of a burger I had recently with some prosciutto and italian sausage ground and blended in the patty. So good! Love your recipe, flavors are so strong!

  5. The pesto alone makes these burgers tasty but then you go and add so many other flavors. Delish!

  6. Now that is one great burger! The pancetta must have added some wonderful flavors, and your tomato anchovy on that beautiful bread sounds so good, you could have probably just eaten the bread by itself!
    thanks for coming up with this masterpiece!

  7. How insanely delicious! This would be a huge hit in my house. Everything we love – on a burger!

  8. What a fabuolous idea. You are so right. Italian food is so big.

  9. Amazing the bun will contain so much. I'm lovin the idea of tomato butter.

  10. Wow! This looks so great. I want to take a bite.

  11. Best burger I've seen so far – honestly! Smoked mozzarella, pancetta, anchovy paste, arugula, red onion, pesto and SQUARE BUNS!!!


  12. It is so true about the familiar and unfamiliar!

  13. Very creative and original! I really want to make this. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. This is one scrumptious Italiano burger! You went all out – just as the Italians do. I think there's at least three courses packed in that burger.

  15. glad I found your picture perfect blog!

  16. Love it!!! I've been craving a good burger and this one takes the cake. Something's going off the menu for next week and this is going on. If Connie wasn't playing bridge tonight and if I didn't have a meeting that starts in a few minutes and will last for about two hours I'd be heading to the grocery to get the ingredients right now :-) Kate @kateiscooking

  17. I'm so glad hamburgers are your comfort food! And yay for ciabatta! It's way better than using hamburger buns which are kinda boring and don't hold up to a hearty burger :)

  18. Sommer…you certainly know how to dress up a great looking and tasty burger ;o)

    Your photo captures are splendid!

    Ciao for now,

  19. Mmmmmmmmmmmm BURGER!

  20. Now THAT looks heavenly! I love those Italian ingredients.

  21. Perfect Italian style burgers, very creative, I think you nailed all the flavors and they look grilled to perfection:)

  22. Waw!! I love everything in & round & on top of that burger!! It all looks so tasty & mighty pretty too!

    MMMMMMMMMM,..fantastic real flavours in here & I also love the fact that you made your own pesto!


  23. You know I like pesto on burgers, but I definitely think adding pork into the mix is a brilliant idea. This is one of the better versions of fusion food–some of it is SO weird!

  24. Glorious. Delicious and glorious. Of course, if you could please make mine with a bit more pink in the middle? Medium rare is perfect. Wow, that looks so good.

  25. This burger looks delicious. Great pictures, too. And you're right, we Americans really can't resist good comfort foods!

  26. Wow, this burger is absolutely mouthwatering…

  27. Good idea, Sommer! I love fusion food-there is no shame in it, girl (smile). Plus, this looks really wonderful. Oh, how I do miss burgers…Oh;)

  28. You had me at smoked mozzarella. YUMMY YUMMY IN MY TUMMY! This looks so good to me. I am going to make it. My husband has been challenging me to make him the ultimate burger and i think i found it!

  29. my do these look delicious!! must try it out sometime!!

  30. I'd like to be nearby when you make these just to smell the aroma of those amazing burgers grilling. Yum!!

    I have a question about the examiner gig you have going. How often do you have to post?

  31. Italian Burger…I'm sold! Love the pancetta, tomato butter, and pesto. Put it all on ciabatta and that's pretty much heaven. I think this would also be good with some other meats mixed in the burger like pork and veal.

  32. They look excellent! A perfect combination of flavours. Who said "burgers" are the junk food?

  33. An excellent burger, I love the combo of pancetta and mozarella and pesto here!

  34. Oh how beautiful this burger is. Even though I don't eat burgers, this one is really tempting and mouthwatering!

  35. I don't even eat meat, but love this…These flavors are fantastic :)

  36. That burger is to die for!!! All of my favorite Italian ingredients. Yummy!!!

  37. Sommer, this burger looks absolutely delicious! I love the addition of pancetta. Save one for me please!

  38. Love your foray into Italian cuisine via American and burger food! Very clever and very tasty too.

  39. Oh sommer what a perfect burger, first your perfect peach salad and now your fab burger, really great labor day ideas!! yum, love the pic of the bitten butger!!


  40. We love our comfort food and there's nothing like a juicy burger! And with pancetta – what's not to like ;)

  41. Wow that burger looks so delicious!!!

  42. What a unique and delicious looking burger! It's making my mouth water big time! Thanks for sharing!

  43. Speaking of delivery… 12 noon is okay with me – lol… Burgers look great – I love home grilled burgers the best.

  44. Neat idea! I'm not much of a hamburger maven but this one looks like a must try!

  45. Great post!Tomato butter sounds wonderful. Thanks.

  46. yum panchatta and a burger what can beat that!

  47. This is a perfect burger, complete with ciabatta. This is triple comfort.

  48. Very interesting burger and I love the italian spin. Sounds delicious.

  49. This sounds TOTALLY awesome. My mouth is watering, literally. And I dont think it would be wise for me to whip up one of these burgers this late at night. I suppose I will have to wait until next weekend for labor day. *sigh* It will be hard to wait that long… ;)

  50. What a burger!Absolutely delightful!
    Will try with minced chicken!…and that tomato butter rocks!

  51. These burgers look absolutely fantastic. I love burgers and surely yours would be my recipe to go. Thanks for sharing!

  52. I surrender. You are the hands down winner in the burger department. These sound other worldly. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  53. Oh boy! This burger looks so amazing, loooooooved the tomato butter idea.

  54. OMG you are a burger goddess. I wouldn't change a thing!!

  55. I hope you've entered this recipe into a burger contest. It's unique and looks fantastic. I bet you could win!