Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stuffed Pesto Burgers

Since the weather has not been cooperating for strawberry picking, I decided to make some Stuffed Pesto Burgers.  This is one of my favorite burger recipes, and it is really simple!

Stuffed Pesto Burgers
(This recipe makes 4 quarter-pound burgers--  adjust the ingredients accordingly to make more burgers)
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
2 Tablespoons pesto (recipe to follow--  but you can use store bought if needed)
salt and pepper
approximately 2 oz. provolone cheese 
1.  Cut cheese into 4 equal chunks and set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, pesto, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Shape the beef mixture into 8 thin patties.  Sandwich a chunk of cheese inbetween two of the burger patties.  Seal the edges, making sure that the cheese is completely enclosed in the middle of the ground beef, so the cheese won't melt and leak out.  Repeat with the remaining cheese and beef patties.  You should end up with 4 burgers.
3.  If you are making these ahead, wrap them in waxed paper, then place in a freezer bag or air-tight container.  Store in the freezer or refrigerator.  Thaw before grilling, if frozen.
4.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Grill burgers until cooked through, turning once.  Serve on rolls.
Homemade Pesto
Following is my recipe for homemade pesto.  It is another easy recipe, and you can use pesto for so many different things.  You can make it in a food processor or blender, but if you use a blender, separate the recipe into two batches, and just be patient.  Pesto freezes really well, so you can make up a bunch this summer.

(Makes approx. 4 cups) 
4 cloves garlic, peeled
6 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (3 ounces) finely grated parmesan cheese
1.  Add the garlic, basil, parsley, and pine nuts (if using) to the food processor or blender and pulse.
2.  Add the olive oil a little bit at a time, pulsing in between each time you add more oil. Keep pulsing until the pesto is smooth, stopping when needed to scrape the side with a rubber spatula.
3.  Transfer the pesto to a medium size bowl and stir in the salt and grated parmesan cheese.  This will keep in the fridge for a month (tip:  it helps to keep the bright green color of the pesto if you pour a thin layer of olive oil over the pesto).  If freezing, transfer into small airtight containers.

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