The Tuscan Burger

My last meal? A hamburger of course.

With this Tuscan Burger, read down the ingredients and you can almost taste the pesto with the chargrilled beef and melted bocconcini, the mayonaise and the chargrilled buns.

Hopefully this isn’t your last meal and as my mother is known to say, the recipe shouldn’t kill anyone. But if it does, not a bad way to go.

As always, go for the best, freshest piece of chuck steak you can and get your butcher to mince it on the coarsest cut.


600g freshly ground chuck steak
100g pancetta, rind removed, chopped
1/3 cup (90g) basil pesto
2 small red onions, thickly sliced
2 tbs olive oil
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, thickly sliced
1/2 cup (150g) whole-egg mayonnaise
3-4 bocconcini, sliced
4 Italian bread rolls, split
50g baby rocket leaves


  1. Place beef, pancetta and 2 tablespoons pesto in a processor. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until just combined (do not overprocess). Form mixture into 4 patties and chill while you cook the vegetables.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  3. Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue over medium heat. Toss onion in a little oil and grill for 1 minute each side or until just cooked. Place in the oven to keep warm.
  4. Brush tomatoes with a little oil and season, then grill for 1 minute each side. Place in the oven to keep warm.
  5. Brush both sides of patties with oil. Cook on chargrill for 2-3 minutes each side until cooked through. Chargrill the bread rolls.
  6. Mix remaining pesto with mayonnaise.
  7. Top patties with cheese and place in oven for 1 minute or until cheese melts.
  8. Spread bread-roll bases with some of the mayonnaise mixture. Top with rocket, patties, onion and tomato. Drizzle with remaining mayonnaise mixture and top with remaining bread-roll halves

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