This burrata-topped burger is big and beautiful
If ever there was a burger that craved an audience, it is this red pepper and burrata burger. It’s so over the top that it calls out for a special occasion — even if that occasion is a dreary weeknight that desperately needs a bit of brightening.
I pulled it from the 2022 cookbook “Delicious Gatherings” by Tara Bench one winter evening when I decided dinner was going to be the high point of an otherwise gray, chilly day. Yes, I use food to lift my spirits sometimes.
The good news is that it comes together quickly, so while it looks tall and luxurious, it’s ready in a little more than 30 minutes.
Pick your protein — beef, chicken or turkey — add roasted bell pepper from a jar, loose Italian sausage and a bit of grated parmesan, and mix it all together to form a big-flavored patty. The burger can be cooked on the stove or grilled.
The patty is then topped with burrata — fresh buffalo mozzarella wrapped around a filling of soft curd. Burrata is so creamy that you don’t need a lot for it to be, well, a lot.
If you like, make a little garlic mayonnaise to spread on the bun, as Bench suggests. It’s gilding the lily a bit, but it’s a delicious addition.
In her cookbook, Bench, a former Martha Stewart food editor and food stylist and editor at Ladies’ Home Journal magazine, included the burger in her “main events” chapter and added a “Mamma Mia!” to the name, declaring this little number the “ultimate dripdown-your-elbows” cheeseburger.
We didn’t find it that messy, but eyes did widen once it was all plated up with lettuce and tomato.
I tucked Bench’s cookbook on a shelf when I first got it, planning to use it as she intended as a sort of guide to cooking for others — a skill that I’d polished, but that now feels a bit rusty due to isolating during the pandemic.
Bench offers menus for “gather-around dinners,” including grilling parties and Sunday suppers. I put sticky notes on more than a half-dozen recipes. Some are suitable for big winter holidays, but others I’ll make any old weeknight when I need a pick-meup.
After all, just because it’s a weeknight, there’s no reason you can’t plate a showstopper.
Red Pepper and Burrata Burgers
Active time: 25 minutes Total time: 35 minutes The beef burgers are great grilled outdoors. The patties also can be made with ground chicken or turkey instead of beef, but these make softer patties, and so they are best made on the stove in a nonstick skillet or a grill pan. The chicken and turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If you cannot find burrata, swap in fresh mozzarella instead.
Storage: Cooked or uncooked patties can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; uncooked ones can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 pound lean ground beef (90 percent lean or higher; see Headnote)
4 ounces fresh spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1/4 cup finely chopped jarred roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup (1-1/2 ounces) grated parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
6 brioche buns
2 cups arugula (2 ounces)
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
2 plum tomatoes (6 ounces total), sliced
2 small rounds burrata cheese (4 ounces total)
In a small bowl, stir together the garlic and mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large bowl, gently combine the beef, sausage, roasted red peppers, parmesan and salt; do not overmix. Divide and shape the mixture into six (1/2-cup) patties and press to 3/4-inch thickness.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the burgers and cook for about 7 minutes total, flipping after about 3 minutes, for a medium burger.
To assemble the burgers, spread the garlic mayonnaise on the bottom of each bun and top with some arugula and a couple of fresh basil leaves, if using. Add the burger and tomato slices. Cut each burrata ball into three pieces and add one piece to each burger, making sure to include the creamy center, and finish with the bun tops.
If you like, use a toothpick to secure a few basil leaves to the top of the bun.