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Italian Platter Burger

Yield Makes 8 servings
Notes: If desired, top burger with an additional 1/2 cup heated pasta sauce and 2 1/2 cups (about 2 oz.) lightly packed rinsed and drained bitter greens (curly endive, frisée, escarole, or argula).


  • 1 round French bread (1 1/2 lb., about 11 in. wide)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground lean beef or turkey
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup prepared pasta sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded fontina cheese (6 oz.)
  • Sautéed mushrooms

How to Make It

  1. Using a long, serrated knife, cut bread in half horizontally. Spread butter evenly over cut sides.

  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs to blend, then add beef, onion, bread crumbs, pasta sauce, garlic, and oregano and mix well. Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with waxed paper. Scrape meat mixture onto paper and pat into a 12-inch-wide round (or 1 in. wider than bread).

  3. Prepare barbecue for direct heat.

  4. If using charcoal briquets, cover firegrate with a single, solid layer of ignited coals; let them burn down to desired heat. Set grill in place and measure heat.

  5. If using a gas barbecue, turn all burners to high and close lid for 10 minutes. Adjust burners to desired heat. Set grill in place and measure heat.

  6. When grill is hot (you can hold your hand at grill level 2 to 3 seconds), lay meat on barbecue: holding both ends of baking sheet, invert patty onto grill. Pull waxed paper off the patty and discard.

  7. Cook patty until browned on bottom, about 7 minutes. To turn, use 2 rimless baking sheets, one as a pusher to slide patty onto the second sheet. When patty is on the baking sheet, invert first sheet onto it. Hold baking sheets together, turn over, and slide patty, browned side up, back onto grill. Continue to cook until well-done (no longer pink in the center, cut to test), 7 to 9 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over burger for the last 3 to 4 minutes of cooking.

  8. During the last few minutes the meat cooks, if there is space, lay bread, cut side down, on grill to toast. If there is not enough room, toast bread after removing patty. Slide a baking sheet under the meat, then slide meat onto the bottom half of the toasted bread. Cut the top half of the bread into 8 wedges. Arrange bread wedges on burger. Cut burger and the bottom of the bread into wedges.

  9. Top burger with 2 or more of the following: sautéed mushrooms, pasta sauce, or bitter greens.

  10. Nutritional analysis does not include sautéed mushrooms or optional toppings.

  11. Per serving with beef: 686 cal., 43% (297 cal.) from fat; 41 g protein; 33 g fat (14 g sat.); 54 g carbo (9 g fiber); 947 mg sodium;173 mg chol.

  12. Per serving with turkey: 650 cal., 40% (261 cal.) from fat; 41 g protein; 29 g fat (11 g sat.); 54 g carbo (9 g fiber); 956 mg sodium; 157 mg chol.