St. Louis Hill Burgers

Pairs well with:


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

In St. Louis, the neighborhood known as “The Hill” was settled by Italian immigrants, primarily from Sicily, over a century ago. The neighborhood retains its charm today with a number of small family owned shops, restaurants, bakeries, and groceries offering the authentic fare of the Old Country! The sights, sounds, smells and tastes of The Hill are unique and unmistakable. This burger features several favorites from this unique neighborhood’s bold and delectable tastes.



2 oz pecorino romano cheese
½ cup raisins
4 inch sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 oz fresh parsley leaves
12-15 fresh basil leaves
2.5 lb freshly ground beef chuck
2 oz. double concentrated tomato paste (comes in a tube)

Pancetta Pieces and Crumbled Gorgonzola

1 TBL Extra virgin olive oil
6 oz pancetta (Italian dry-cured bacon), thinly sliced
4 oz gorgonzola cheese

Sweet Pepper and Onion Dressing

1 medium sweet (red) onion
1 cup canned roasted sweet red peppers, well drained
1TBL Extra virgin olive oil
1 lg clove garlic, finely chopped
6-8 fresh basil leaves
Sicilian sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
6 oz Zinfandel wine

6 burger size pieces of Asiago/Herb Focaccia Bread
4TBL butter


Put romano cheese in a food processor and process until it resembles coarse meal. Add the raisins and rosemary leaves (remove stems) and continue to process until the raisins also resemble coarse meal. Add the parsley and basil leaves and process until distributed well into mixture. Add this chopped mixture to ground chuck along with 2 oz double concentrated tomato paste. Divide into six equal portions and shape into patties. Set aside in cold place while preparing other ingredients.

Place a cast iron skillet on the grill on med high heat. Add 1 TBL olive oil and heat. As soon as oil is hot add pancetta and cook until pancetta begins to crisp. Remove skillet from grill then remove and drain pancetta well (reserving drippings in skillet), then place cooked pancetta in food processor. Pulse to chop pancetta into bite size pieces. Set pancetta aside in a medium bowl to top burgers. Crumble gorgonzola cheese and set aside in a bowl to top burgers.

Chop onions in food processor into ½ – ¾ inch pieces. Chop peppers separately in food processor into ½- ¾ inch pieces.

Return skillet (with drippings from pancetta) to grill on med/high, add 1 TBL olive oil. Add onion to hot skillet and cook until onions are carmelized. Add garlic about 1 minute before onions are done. When onions are done, push them to side of skillet and add peppers to other side and cook just until peppers are heated through, mix well then remove from heat and place in a medium bowl. Chop basil leaves and add to mixture. Season with a good pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Return skillet to grill and add wine. Reduce to approx. 1/4 of original volume stirring to remove pan drippings. Add reduced wine to onion/pepper mixture and mix well.

Split Focaccia bread horizontally and butter each cut side.

Grilling Burgers

Turn grill to high and let it heat thoroughly. Place burgers on hot grill for ½ minute on each side to sear then turn grill down to med/high heat and grill for additional 8-10 minutes until desired doneness, turning every 1 ½ – 2 minutes to avoid burning. Burgers will develop a rusty carmelized look on outside. After turning the last time season patties lightly with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, top burgers with crumbled gorgonzola and let melt for 1 minute. Remove from grill, and let stand in a warm place while focaccia bread is toasted..

Place Focaccia bread, buttered side down on outside edge of grill and toast lightly (watch closely and do not allow them to burn).


Place burger on bottom half of toasted Focaccia and top with sweet pepper/onion mixture and pancetta bits. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil over top before adding top half of focaccia bread.

Mangia Bene!