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

Zesty Italian Burgers |
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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 |

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 |

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 |

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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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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