Bistecca Alla Fiorentina Burgers with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Sweet Onion Gorgonzola

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.


For the Sundried Tomato Pesto:
6 cloves roasted garlic (I use Christopher Ranch brand)
6 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, well drained and blotted to remove excess oil
1/2 cup best quality drained sundried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained, blotted to remove excess oil, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced ripe (fresh) plum tomatoes (cored and seeded)
2 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar (Fini Brand is fine)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil

For the Burgers:
4 oz. Prosciutto di Parma, finely chopped/ground in food processor 3 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably Tuscan)
1 3/4 lb. ground rib eye steak (80% lean, 20% fat)

For the Grilled Sweet Onions:
4 large sweet onions (you will need 1 cup finely chopped grilled onions)
2 Tbsp. best quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably Tuscan)
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary For the Sweet Onion Gorgonzola

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, preferably unpasteurized
1 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6 oz. Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced and julienned

Coarsely chopped grilled sweet onions

To Finish the Burgers:
Best quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably Tuscan) for oiling the grill, buns and the burgers before grilling
6 uncooked burgers
6 round ciabatta rolls, at least 5" in diameter
Sundried Tomato
Sweet Onion
2 cups fresh baby arugula, washed and dried



1) Prepare Your Grill: FOR A GAS GRILL: If you have a grill that has more than one section, heat one section to high and one to medium. If you only have one section, heat it to medium. 2) For the Sundried Tomato Pesto: Place the 6 roasted garlic cloves, 6 anchovy fillets, 1/2 cup sundried tomato, 1/2 cup fresh tomato, 2 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper into a blender or food processor and blend or process until everything is finely chopped. Add the 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and blend or process until farily smooth and emulsified. Scrape the Sundried Tomato Pesto out of the processor or blender and set aside until ready to build/serve the burgers. 3) For the Bistecca Alla Fiorentina Burgers: Place the 4 oz. chopped/ground prosciutto into a large mixing bowl. Add the 3 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary, 1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to the bowl. Use your hands or a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine this mixture (you want to mix this completely before you add the meat). Crumble the 1 3/4 lbs. ground rib eye over the prosciutto mixture in the bowl and gently but thoroughly incorporate the prosciutto mixture into the meat. NOTE: You will need to use your hands for this-you do not want to handle the meat any more than necessary, but you do want to make sure the prosciutto mixture is evenly distributed throughout the meat. When the meat and prosciutto mixture are thoroughly combined, divide into 6 burgers/patties (a slightly rounded or "heaping" 3/4 cup meat mixture per burger-if you have a little meat mixuture left over, make the chef a little spicy meat ball). Gently form each portion into a patty that is about 4 1/2" diameter and about 3/4" thick (I like to use a burger press for this (about $3.00 at Wal-Mart) but you can also do it by hand. 4) For the Grilled Sweet Onion: Peel oninos and slice into 3/4" thick rounds. Brush both sides of each onion slice with the 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Season both sides of the onions with the 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper and 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary. Grill the slices on the hottest part of the grill, turning once for about 4-5 minutes per side (be careful- they can burn very quickly if you are not watching them), or until charred and softened. Remove the onions as they are done to a clean bowl or plate to cool slightly. When they are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them. 5) For the Sweet Onion Gorgonzola Sauce: While the onions cool enough for you to chop them, place the 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream into a heavy duty non-reactive deep sided sauce pan and place onto the hottest part of the grill. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the 1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and whisk to melt the cheese. Add the 6 oz. juilienned Prosciutto di Parma and stir to combine. Fold in the chopped grilled sweet onions. Keep the Sweet Onino Gorgonzola Sauce slightly warm (a thermos works well-or just place it onto or near the coolest part of the grill). 6) To Cook and Finish the Burgers: NOTE: Have a spray bottle filled with water ready (grill-side) when you cook the burgers to put out any flare-ups (flames) that result from the melting/dripping fat from the burgers. Brush the grill with a little of the extra virgin olive oil. Brush the burgers with a little oil as well. Grill the burgers on the hot grill, uncovered for about 3-4 minutes per side (for medium rare-the burgers should sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before grilling). When they are done, remove the burgers to a clean plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm and rest while you toast the buns. 7) Toast the Ciabatta: Split (cut) each ciabatta roll/bun in half (like a regualr hamburger bun). Lightly oil the cut sides of the bread. Place the lightly oiled ciabatta rolls, cut sides down onto the grill to toast (watching them carefully so they don't burn) for about 1-2 minutes. 8) Build the Burger: Place the toasted ciabatta onto 6 plates cut sides up. Spread about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the Sundried Tomato Pesto onto the cut/toasted side of each top and bottom slice (1 1/2 Tbsp. on the bottom). Place one hot cooked burger onto each bottom slice. And top with about 1/3 cup of the Sweet Onion Gorgonzola Sauce. Stuff about 1/3 cup of the arugula into the top bun (into the indentation) and flip the top buns onto the burgers. Note: You may have the Sundried Tomato Pesto and Gorgonzola Sauce left over-save them (the Gorgonzola sauce can be reheated over low heat-add a little more heavy cream if it is too thick). Serves 6.