Nona’s Spin on Hamburgers

Pairs well with:


Paired or alone, there's something magical about this creamy wine that nods to yummy peaches and sinful delights.

I grew up in upstate Ny and never considered Italian as ethnic until I moved away. Italian food was a staple, and most of the rest’s there were Italian too.

You can imagine my surprise when I moved to Indiana and could not find what I considered “normal” foods like ricotta cheese, bagels, lox, good Parmesan to grate and the like. LOL did I mention the other half of my friends were Jewish.

This was back in the 60’s and if memory serves me right, there was a sad little selection of pasta also.

If there is any way to make something Italian I will, and my family just loves the flavors too.


Burger part:

2 pounds ground beef 80/20

1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage we like hot, but sweet works here too

1/3 cup chopped onions

1/3 cup green bell peppers, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/4 cup shredded zucchini

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided


6 thick slices of mozzarella, each about 1 ounce


6 crusty cibatta rolls

Drunken Mushroomie Sauce

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small Spanish onion, chopped

8 ounces mixed mushrooms, morels, chantells, porccino’s. If none of these are available, find another grocer. Just kidding, use button mushrooms.

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

1/3 cup chianti wine.


Drunken Mushroomie Sauce

Remainder of the marinara sauce, maybe 2 tablespoons per burger

6 slices raw onion

6 crispy radiccio leaves


In a large bowl combine the burger ingredients, using 3 tablespoons of marinara sauce, and being careful not to over-compact the meat.

Form into 12 thin patties.

Take the 6 slices of mozzarella, and fold each slice into quarters so it makes a square.

Take each square of cheese and place in the middle of 6 of the burgers.

Take the other 6 patties, pl;ace them on top of the other patties, and seal the edges all the way around.

Split the cibatta rolls in half lengthwise.

Pre heat grill to med high.

Next make the Drunken Mushroomie Sauce by first heating the olive oil in a flame proof sauce pan.

Add the onion and saute until translucent, then add the mushrooms and cook until they start to soften add the salt and pepper and the chianti, sitr and continue to cook until the wine reduces down a little, cover and keep warm,

Grill the burgers until done to your liking, the last 5 minutes of cooking toast the cut sides of the rolls.

Put one burger on each ciballa roll, put a drizzle of Drunken mushroomie Sauce, a tablespoon or so of marinara sauce, a slice of raw onion, and 1 crispy radicchio leaf.