My Favorite Burger

As delicious as the food in Rome is I must admit that every once in a while, I find myself craving food that is not pasta or pizza, but rather enchiladas verdes, pad thai, or most common of all, the classic American hamburger. I've found however that a good burger (unlike a plate of spaghetti all carbonara) is hard to come by in Rome, and so I often end up making my own burgers at home. This brings us to today's recipe for burgers, which beats out the pancakespeanut butter cookies, or berry shortcake on this blog for the spot of "quintessential American recipe." After all, nothing says "America" quite like a hamburger (or in this case, cheeseburger). 

One of the (many) wonderful things about a burger is that it can be completely personalized to suit the diner. Aside from the classic beef burger with lettuce and tomato, there are also turkey burgers, chicken burgers, tuna burgers, salmon burgers, veggie burgers, and even buffalo burgers. The choice of toppings are endless -- no cheese, or cheddar cheese, blue cheese, even goat cheese; ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, or mayonnaise; onion rings, bacon, or a fried egg -- I've even seen burgers topped with pulled pork. In short, the burger is a reflection of American cuisine, where anything goes -- just like you can have grilled chicken added to your pasta for an extra $1, or have a side of fruit with your sandwich, you can have your burger any way you want it (don't tell the Italians that). 

This is the recipe for my ideal burger. A beef patty (because let's be honest, beef tastes a lot better than chicken) with sharp cheddar, buttery olive oil-y avocado, and a little lettuce and tomato for freshness. For my perfect burger, the bun must always be toasted, if only for the practical reason that it makes it sturdier and more likely to support all of the delicious ingredients inside. Do not leave out the Worcestershire sauce -- it is the secret ingredient that complements the beef perfectly, and is not to be underestimated. Make these on the grill this weekend!! Enjoy!!


1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 slices of cheddar cheese** (or cheese of your choice)
2 avocados
1 large tomato, sliced
4 leaves of lettuce
4 sesame seed buns, toasted
Olive oil

Start with the avocados. Slice each in half, remove the pit, and use a spoon to remove the avocado pulp. Mash the avocado in a small bowl with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef with the Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper. Shape the beef in to 4 equal patties and grill for 4 minutes per side for medium doneness. If you do not have a grill, you can also cook these burgers in a large skillet on the stove. When the burgers are almost done cooking, place a piece of cheese over the top and let it melt.

Place the burgers on the the toasted buns and top with tomato, lettuce, and avocado. I like to serve this burger with my favorite side -- sweet potato fries! -- but regular fries are great here too! Makes 4 large burgers.

**I have also made these "inside out" cheeseburgers by placing the cheese in the center of the burger patty and closing the patty over, so that way when you bite in to the burger there is cheese on the inside.

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