Recipe courtesy of Michael Cohen

Northern Italian Trattoria Burger

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 burgers
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Italian Herb Butter:

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons chopped shallot

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 1/2 sticks good quality unsalted butter, room temperature


2/3 cup grated aged Montasio or Asiago cheese

Crispy Speck:

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces speck (smoked prosciutto), thinly sliced and finely chopped


1/4 pound dry, hot capicola (coppa), thinly sliced and chopped (recommended: Boar's Head)

Pinch fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

1 1/4 pounds ground chuck

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces shredded fontina cheese

4 potato buns, split

4 teaspoons toasted pine nuts

1 cup wild arugula (or baby arugula), lightly packed


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the parsley, basil, thyme, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard and puree until smooth. Add the butter and pulse until well combined. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese into 2 to circles (approximately 4 1/2-inch in diameter) in the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes. Then carefully flip with a spatula and cook for another 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining 1/2 of the cheese.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the speck, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the speck and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
  4. To make the patties, put capicola and rosemary in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. In a large mixing bowl, combine the capicola mixture, chuck, salt, and pepper; mix well. Separate the mixture into 4 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the size of the buns.
  5. Heat large skillet or grill pan over high heat. Add the patties to the skillet and cook for 3 1/2 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or to desired doneness. During the last few minutes of cooking, top the burgers with equal amounts of fontina cheese and tent with aluminum foil to melt cheese. Also, during last few minutes of cooking, toast the buns.
  6. To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of Italian Herb Butter on the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, arrange equal amounts of pine nuts, Crispy Speck, arugula, a patty topped with cheese, and a Frico. Cover with the bun tops and serve.