Roman Holiday Burgers

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

This rich red easily complements your homemade chicken dishes, red meats, game, and mildly seasoned pastas.


Artichoke Tapenade:
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup pitted Calamata olives, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped
1 anchovy fillet, drained, rinsed and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 slices pancetta
Sautéed Fennel:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bulbs fennel, fronds removed, finely chopped and set aside
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, roughly chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 (3 by 4 inch) pieces ciabatta bread, halved lengthwise



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the artichoke tapenade, combine the artichoke, olives, capers, anchovy, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine well, then allow to process until mixture is coarsely pureed. Season the tapenade, to taste, with salt and pepper. Place the mixture in a small bowl. Refrigerate until serving. To make the pancetta, add the pancetta to a large fireproof non-stick skillet and cook on the grill over high heat until crispy, about 5 minutes, flipping once. Drain on paper towels. Set aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the pancetta fat from the skillet. To make the sautéed fennel, add the oil to the skillet that still contains the reserved pancetta fat and cook on the grill over high heat until hot. Add the fennel and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove for the heat. Set aside. To make the patties, place the sweet Italian sausage in a food processor and process just until coarsely ground. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl and add the beef, garlic, lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the ciabatta bread. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the ciabatta bread, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. To assemble the burgers, place a generous amount of artichoke tapenade over the cut sides of the ciabatta bread. On each ciabatta bottom, place a patty, a slice of pancetta, and equal amounts of sautéed fennel. Add the ciabatta bread tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.