Okay, so they are not really that fancy. They aren’t stuffed with fancy bleu cheese or made from home-ground sirloin steaks, and they are not topped with foie gras. No, they are just really good burgers I bought at the store and topped with what I consider to be some good, pretty straightforward Italian ingredients. The result is actually much better than I ever expected. Something about the combination of the salty Asiago cheese, the fresh punch of pesto, and the smokiness of the roasted red pepper hits your palate in a shockingly savory way. When I came up with this idea, I was expecting some mediocre results that would need to be improved upon. Not so. This one rocks, just the way it is.
I probably started thinking about these burgers because I had the weirdest craving that took me straight back to my childhood. My mom would buy these pre-made burgers from the local butcher that they called “pizza burgers.” They were somehow seasoned to taste distinctly “Italian” (probably just a lot of garlic powder and some Italian seasoning mix) and then my mother would top them with red sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. I loved them. I begged for them. They were probably more expensive than what my mother usually bought, so they were a special treat, only purchased when we had a little extra grocery money lying around. Anyway, I thought about those the other day and, as I do, wanted to recreate the concept using fresher, less processed ingredients. This is the result of that effort.
Since this is just an assemblage, I won’t write out a full recipe. Cook burgers according to your preferred method and cooking time (I used the cast iron skillet and cooked to medium-well), then top with slices of Asiago cheese (I used Boar’s Head) and cover to melt. For serving, coat the bottom of a toasted bun with a generous amount of basil pesto (store bought or homemade), then top with the cheeseburger. Top the burger with roasted red peppers (either homemade or from a jar) and finish with the top bun (you can add pesto to this, too, but it may be too salty). Smash together and enjoy. =)