Italian burger with homemade pesto

I love burgers and Italian cuisine. For example, On the barbecue, there are regularly burgers or pizzas. And how beautiful would it be if we could combine those.

We made a hamburger with the usual ingredients we often find in Italian cuisine. All components are all delicious by themselves.

We will, for example, not use ordinary hamburger buns, but we will make sandwiches from pizza dough. Because these have to rise, we will start with them. If you own a food processor with a dough hook, I would definitely use it.

Add the lukewarm water gradually so that after a while, a smooth dough is created. Check the water with your core temperature meter if it is about 35°C (95F), this is important for the yeast to do its job.

When the dough is ready, we put it in a floured bowl and cover it with cling film. Then put the bowl in a warm place. We let it rise for at least 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size. Then we divide the dough into six pieces of the same size. We are going to bulge each part by working the dough in with the fingers at the bottom, which creates tension on the top and creates a nice ball.

We place these balls on a floured baking tray, cover it again with foil, and put it back in a warm location. The dough can now rise for an extra hour. We will bake them nicely brown on 200°C (400F) on the pizza stone. For this, we make them somewhat flat with our fingertips and stretch them around to the desired size. We will cut them in half later, so don’t make them too flat. We top them with finely sliced tomatoes and with some green parsley.

For the pesto, we go for a less common variant and make it with arugula. You can prepare the pesto in the mortar or food processor. Italians swear by the mortar as it works just as easily but retains more flavor. However, it does require some muscle strength and endurance, but the result is ultimately great: a delicious pesto and a full robust taste.

We are going to season the ground beef with oregano, basil, and rosemary. Pepper and salt are added to taste. Mix the herbs well with the minced meat and form three equal-sized burgers. I personally find a garnish ring an easy tool to make excellent round burgers of any desired thickness.

The Italian burger gets even more flavor with a good cheese. By grating some Italian Grana Padano coarsely on a piece of aluminum foil in the same garnishing ring, we can later melt it on the barbecue. After cooling, the cheese can be easily removed from the foil as one piece.

Prosciutto di Parma was chosen as a replacement for bacon. By placing it on the pizza stone for a few seconds, the fats burn, and after cooling, a delicious and crispy Parma ham remains.

With the self-baked sandwich, romaine lettuce, parma ham, Grana Padano, the well-seasoned burger, mozzarella, and arugula pesto, we are going to build a beautiful Hamburger Italian style. This well-filling burger does not need a sidedish…. at most a beautiful, red, Italian wine. Bon appetit!


For the sandwiches

  • 500 grams patent flour (17.6oz)
  • ½ teaspoon of dry yeast
  • 10 grams of salt (0.35oz)
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 250 ml lukewarm water (1cup)

For the pesto

  • 45 grams of grated Parmesan cheese (1.6oz)
  • 10 grams of pine nuts (0.35oz)
  • 25 grams of arugula (0.9oz)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

For the burgers

  • 525 grams of ground beef (18.5oz)
  • salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons of basil
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 100 grams of Grana Padano (3.5oz)
  • 100 grams of Parma ham (3.5oz)
  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce
  • 4 cocktail vine tomatoes
  • Parsley
  • 125 grams of Italian mozzarella (4.4oz)


  1. Put the flour and the dry yeast in a bowl and mix it together. Pour in half of the water little by little. Then the salt and olive oil are added. Keep kneading and add the last half of the water.
  2. Form one large dough ball and place it in a bowl greased with olive oil. Cover this with cling film and put the bowl in a warm place.
  3. Roast the pine nuts in a brown pan until they start to smell. Shake them regularly to prevent them from baking too far as this can give off a bitter taste.
  4. Mortar a garlic clove into a paste. Little by little, add arugula until it is a green juice. Then we grind the pine nuts to form a puree. Parmesan cheese is added step by step. When all this has been ground into a smooth mash, we will add the olive oil. Add oil until the pesto has the desired thickness and add some lemon juice until it is to your taste.
  5. Put the minced beef in a bowl and add the oregano, basil, and rosemary. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Knead the minced meat lightly and form three beautiful burgers. Then put them covered in the refrigerator.
  7. Fold a piece of aluminum foil in half to the size of the previously used garnish ring. Place the ring on the foil and grate the Grana Padano on the foil until it is covered.
  8. Remove the dough from the bowl and cut it into six equal-sized pieces. Raise each piece with your hands and place them on a baking tray covered with cling film in a warm place.
  9. Heat your barbecue to about 200°C (390F) with a pizza stone on the grill grid.
  10. Cut the tomatoes into pieces of about half an inch.
  11. After an hour of rising, remove the six dough balls from under the foil and shape each ball, using the fingertips to make beautiful rolls. Push the dough ball slightly flat with your fingers and simultaneously stretch it out into a small pizza the size of the hamburger.
  12. On the three rolls, place the finely chopped tomato and parsley. Bake the rolls on the pizza stone in 5 to 10 minutes until nicely browned and cooked.
  13. Place the three pieces of aluminum foil with Grana Padano on the pizza stone until the cheese is melted.
  14. After this, the Parma ham goes on the pizza stone. You can grill this alternately in about 5 seconds. Then you set them aside to cool. Remove the pizza stone and keep the temperature of the barbecue at 200°C.
  15. Remove the burgers from the refrigerator and place on the grill rack. Close the barbecue and open it after about two minutes to turn the burgers a little with a spatula for nice grill stripes. After another two minutes, turn the hamburger and do the same. Shortly after the last turn a slice of mozzarella is served on every burger.
    With the core temperature meter, you check for the desired doneness. I personally go for a core temperature of 55-58°C.
  16. We start building the hamburger. Prepare the bottom rolls with a few leaves of romaine lettuce on top, then the Parma ham, and then the Grana Padano. After this, follows the hamburger with mozzarella, and a scoop of your homemade pesto. A few slices of tomato go in between and finish with the top buns.

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