“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Burgers and Chips with dip: An American classic with an Italian twist

Now that the weather in New York is getting so beautiful, I started to think of summer. A relaxing walk on the beach, a cool swim in the pool and all of those tempting barbeques. When I think of summer, what comes to mind is a big juicy, mouthwatering burger slathered with flavored mayonnaise and a side of chips. But, while I want to keep most of my posts traditional, I also want to mix it up a little and have some fun. So when I was thinking about said burger and chips, I wanted to give them an Italian twist on it. And so ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present: Italian sausage burgers with zucchini chips and pesto aioli.   

Il secondo (second course, main course)

My mother first made these burgers for my family this past summer. They are so simple to make, but I promise you, they will be most impressive at your next barbeque. When my mama made these, my brother and father were raving about them for days. It took me a few times to finally try them, but when I did….wow. That’s all I can say. They are juicy and perfectly seasoned. But you know what, enough talk about them. I’ll let you be the judge.
Italian Sausage Burgers

1 pound of ground Italian sausage (hot or sweet, whatever you prefer)
Chopped Italian parsley
Italian seasoning
Garlic powder
Onion powder
4 tablespoons grated parmigiana

Put your ground Italian sausage in a large bowl. Add your salt, pepper, parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and 4 tablespoons of grated parmesan. All of these spices are to taste, you can add as little or as much as you would like depending on how intense you like the flavor. Mix all of your meat and seasonings. Using your hands, form into 4 patties.
Prepare a pan with 3 tablespoons of oil and put your patties on the pan. Make sure each side cooks for around twelve minutes; you need to make sure that they are thoroughly cooked.  All together, it will probably take around 25 minutes for them to finish cooking. (These must be cooked slowly or the pork could get tough) Serve with a dollop of pesto aioli (recipe below.) I like to eat mine on a thin, whole grain bun, but may I also suggest serving them on ciabatta or focaccia? I also like to add a few pieces of arugula in place of lettuce, just another little twist.

Pesto Aioli:

4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of pesto (prepared pesto is easily found in Italian food shops)

Simply mix the mayonnaise and pesto until smooth and creamy.

Il Contorno (side dishes)
What’s great about zucchini is that you can slice it very thin; so it really gives that feeling and taste of potato chips. When they are lightly coated in a chickpea flour mix, they fry up nice and crunchy. I like to dip mine in the pesto mayonnaise instead of the usual onion dip.
Zucchini Chips

2 zucchinis
¼ cup of chickpea flour
Finely chopped Italian parsley
3 tablespoons of grated parmigiana
1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
4 tablespoons of oil (for frying)

Thinly slice your zucchini. Put it in on a paper towel and salt it so it removes most of the water, let it sit for a few minutes.

Combine your chickpea flour, salt, pepper, parsley and grated parmesan in a flat, shallow bowl. This will make it easier to fully coat with the flour mixture.

In another bowl, whisk your egg and add 2 tablespoons of water.

Take the zucchini slices and dip in the egg mixture, make sure they get wet enough so everything sticks. Then put it with the flour mix and coat evenly.

Heat your pan and add 4 tablespoons of oil. Put the zucchini chips in the pan and allow to fry for around 5 minutes on each side. Gently use tongs to remove them from the oil and put on a paper towel so the excess oil can drain off. Salt again. Enjoy with your burger and some pesto aioli for dipping!!

While these are great to serve at a summer barbeque, why wait?!?! So go cook up your burgers and chips and eat outside if you can and have a taste of summer early. Boun Appetito!


  1. I don't eat meat but my family does and would love this I am sure :) The aioli sounds incredible!

  2. That aoili looks amazing--I can see where that would be so good with a spicy sausage. Buzzed!

  3. Love using the chickpea flour! Those look tasty.

  4. The burgers look so delicious. My hubby and boys would love them with hot Italian sausage.....and the aoili is just perfect.....buzzed

  5. Good burgers! I too use those same 'buns' lighter in calories and I hate feeling full from all of that bread. I'd rather feel full from the burger instead.