This is a great local American burger because it marries two all-time American favorites, pizza and burgers.In many midwestern pizza places a popular choice is the house “special” , or sausage, pepperoni and mushroom. My recipe combines these flavors into a juicy burger, top it with garden fresh “caprese” instead of sauce and keep it between two lightly toasted pizza crusts for a winning combination.
12 medium sized portabella mushrooms, caps only (reserve stems and add to meat mixture)
4 tablespoons Colavita Olive Oil (2 for the mushrooms, 2 for drizzling at assembly)
2 large Boboli ready- made thin pizza crusts, cut into 24- 2 inch rounds with biscuit cutter
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound sweet Italian ground sausage
1 4oz. stick pepperoni, small dice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
12 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves (4 leaves per burger)
2 garden fresh, medium-sized tomatoes, sliced into 12 slices
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
Clean mushrooms using a dry towel, remove stems and finely chop up stems for meat mixture. Drizzle caps with olive oil and set aside.
Cut out 24, 2-inch rounds from Boboli pizza crusts, and set aside.
To make the patties, in a large bowl combine ground chuck, Italian sausage, pepperoni, tomato paste, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add chopped mushroom stems to mixture. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. For equally-sized patties, use a standard sized ice-cream scoop to scoop out meat, roll into a meatball, and gently flatten into a patty.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook 4-6 minutes, turning over once and continue cooking another 4-6 minutes or until done to desired preference. Halfway through cooking patties, place the mushroom caps on to the grill rack and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove mushroom caps and place pizza crusts on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly. Remove crusts and patties. Immediately add a slice of mozzarella to each patty.
To assemble the burgers, place a patty onto the toasted side of a crust, add fresh basil leaves, tomato, drizzle with a little olive oil, add a mushroom cap and top with another crust. Makes 12 party-sized caprese-pizza burger “sliders”.