Oooooh! A surprise? Yes! A surprise! Cheese! Inside the actual burger! Yes, it is possible, and no, it’s not illegal. There is cheese inside of, on top of, and underneath the burger. Cheeesy goodness. I know. This one is definitely NOT low-calorie, folks.
It is my holy combination of Chicken Parmesan and Cheeseburgers. A Burger Parm. So freakin’ good, it doesn’t even need a side dish. And no ordinary hamburger bun can stand up to it, either – you need to use ciabatta squares. Not only are they firm enough, but they have all those nice big air pockets to hold the sauce. I got mine at Target, believe it or not – they actually have a pretty decent little bakery there.
A note about the beef – I know everyone instinctively buys the leanest ground beef they can find, but you don’t want to do that when it comes to burgers. You just end up with a dry burger. It might work out okay for this particular recipe because of the tomato sauce, but in general, stick with 80/20. It’s jucier, and it’s cheaper. If you want to eat low-fat, don’t eat a cheeseburger, especially one with three slices of mozzarella cheese. Just sayin’.
(makes two giant burgers)
1 pound ground beef
1 cup spaghetti sauce
3 tablespoons parmesan
6 slices fresh mozzarella
2 individual ciabatta squares
a few fresh basil leaves
In a large bowl, mix the beef, 1/3 cup spaghetti sauce, and the parmesan cheese. Don’t mix it too much – just until combined. Divide into fourths.
Flatten each portion into a THIN patty. Place a slice of mozzarella each on top of two of the patties, then top with the other two patties. Like a sandwich, kind of. Pinch the edges together, and generally refine the shape into a burger-like one. Refrigerate for about an hour. Go watch that show you taped last night.
Now, heat a large (because the burgers are large) pan over medium-high heat, and preheat your oven to 425.
When the oven beeps, put the ciabatta squares inside, and turn it OFF. They will be perfectly toasted when you take them out, I promise.
By now your pan should be hot, so cook your burgers to desired doneness. Remember – they look thick, but some of that is cheese, so don’t over cook them. Mine took about ten minutes, flipping halfway through.
Remove the burgers from the heat and set aside. Remove the Ciabatta from the oven. Now run your hands under cold water because you didn’t use an oven mitt.
Slice the ciabatta squares in half. Spread two tablespoons of sauce on the bottom half, top with a slice of mozzarella, add the burger, put two more tablespoons of sauce on top, add another slice of mozz, and a few basil leaves. Now put the top of the bun on.
Stand back and admire your work, but try not to drool on the floor. Just take a bite. Try not to wear a white shirt. You’ll see.