Bella Pienza Burgers

July 23, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Pienza is a lovely little town atop a hill on the road between Montalcino and Montelpuciano. It has winding narrow little streets lined with shops ... in particular cheese shops that sell primarily pecorino. The town smells of pecorino and of Tuscany. These burgers are a tribute .... - aargersi —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

These are the next best thing to that trip to Tuscany. Aargersi makes a lovely little burger that is easy and delectable, packing flavor inside the burger with generous dry ground black pepper and lemon zest. The ground sirloin burger is then sealed with a brush of olive oil -- this locks in all the juiciness of the lean burger artfully. Then the way the fresh pecorino cheese melts completely to encapsulate this burger is almost magical. And who thinks to dress the vegetables we add to our burgers? Well, it is a great idea. This burger would be wonderful without anything else, but add the sophisticated dressed garnishes and a soft roll, and you have Tuscan heaven. I highly recommend this recipe exactly as aargersi describes. - Sagegreen —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil - plus additional for the burgers
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white truffle oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups arrugula
  • 4 slices of a perfect tomato (see note at bottom)
  • sliced fresh pecorino - make sure you get the soft fresh kind not the hard aged kind
  • 4 soft buns or rolls - I found pan de leche at my store, a brioche or challah roll would be nice too
  1. Get the grill heating to med-high. Make the patties - put the beef, lemon zest, and measured salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix them gently and form into 4 patties. Press slightly in the center of each patty so they will cook evenly. Coat each patty with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Make the arrugula salad - whisk 1 tbs olive oil with the vinegar, truffle oil and honey. Add salt and pepper, taste, adjust. Toss with the arrugula leaves. ** this is a delicious salad in it's own right by the way **
  3. Grill the burgers to your preferred doneness - I actually prefer mine a bit on the done side, which I know to be frowned upon in some parts but whatever. Cook them the way you like them.
  4. At the last flip, top each patty with sliced pecorino and get it all melty on the burger. Toast the buns on the cooler part of the grill as well - this happens fast with soft rolls so be careful!
  5. Assemble your burgers - bottom bun, cheesy patty, sliced tomato, arrugula salad, top bun. Enjoy - a glass of brunello wouldn't be a bad thing!
  6. ** Note to gardeners - pictured is a sweet tangerine tomato - possibly the best tomato I have ever eaten. It is an heirloom hybrid from Burpee, I start several of these plants every year ... they are amazing! **

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • gingerroot
  • Sagegreen
  • Rekaya
  • healthierkitchen
  • lapadia

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

27 Reviews

gingerroot July 30, 2010
You had me at Montelpuciano...I've been thinking about buying some white truffle oil and now I have the perfect excuse! I'm saving this and I know it will be delicious!
Sagegreen July 28, 2010
Double yum.
Sagegreen July 29, 2010
Triple yum. This was our dinner tonight! Looking forward to writing up my thoughts. So glad I got to test this one out. Weather here is actually pretty Tuscan tonight, too. Buona sera!
aargersi July 30, 2010
Oh yay I am glad you like it! Seriously, when you start with Italy as in inspiration and add truffles and honey, what could go wrong?
Sagegreen July 30, 2010
Yes, go RI! lived in Bristol RI where I entered my first cooking contest at age 8; my dad worked in Newport....then we moved to Kingston, I went to college in Providence and later lived in Snug Harbor! I have a high school reunion coming up that will be in Narragansett this fall!
Sagegreen August 3, 2010
I just dedicated a savory plum pudding to this burger!
Rekaya July 25, 2010
That's some burger. I must try!
aargersi July 26, 2010
Let me know what you think!
healthierkitchen July 23, 2010
Love, LOVE pecorino toscano! And with truffle oil! Not a big burger eater but this one might call my name.
aargersi July 26, 2010
Me too on the pecorino ... if you ever can get to Italy you HAVE to go to Pienza - pecorino heaven!!!
Timnaustin November 1, 2017
Ahhh Pienza...Pecorino Tartufo.
Time to go back!
lapadia July 23, 2010
Love the flavor combo you have here, as soon as I can move my right shoulder, I plan on making this, using my cheesy bun recipe here on F52...with pecorino melted on the bun and probably fresh mozzarella on either ground sirloin or ground brisket. Saving the recipe, will let you know after I get to make them! Thanks for sharing...
aargersi July 23, 2010
Your buns look great (hee hee - that was fun to type!) I need to try them. Hope your shoulder heals STAT - what a bummer!!!!
Lizthechef July 23, 2010
Oh man, you got me at truffle oil. We have these big, soft Mexican rolls here that would be perfect. Truffle oil is expensive but a little goes a long way -
aargersi July 23, 2010
Yeah just the teaspoon here is plenty ... get the oil YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Sagegreen July 29, 2010
One tsp. does go a long way, and you can find a small bottle of this....once I found truffle honey, thinking it was like chocolate truffles and used it with iced tea. Oh yuck. But here is an instance where truffle honey would work well. This is an incredible recipe, I'm surprised it wasn't a finalist or ep already!
drbabs July 23, 2010
I'm not much of a beef eater...but YUM.
aargersi July 23, 2010
You know what me either on the beef but I ate this up! This actually is great with lamb as well - not sure if Mr Dr Babs is a lamb eater? Mr L is not ....
drbabs July 23, 2010
My husband (His handle here is eateronly--isn't that cute?) does like lamb... me, not so much.
nannydeb July 23, 2010
This sounds (and looks) fabulous!
aargersi July 23, 2010
Thanks! It was tasty!
dymnyno July 23, 2010
Wow... that bad boy looks delicious...seriously! I love the addition of truffle oil, too.
aargersi July 23, 2010
Thanks! What about the wine paring - have any domestic thoughts? :-)
dymnyno July 28, 2010
I love Zins with good ole boy red meat burgers with the works including truffle oil. (we do not make Zins ourselves). Hmmmreally?? well done???
bethy July 23, 2010
Takes me back! Pecorino with truffles - Yum! Burger sounds delicious!
mrslarkin July 23, 2010
That thing is gorgeous! Gonna put white truffle oil on my wish list for sure. Thanks for recipe!!
aargersi July 23, 2010
Thanks Mrs. L! White truffle oil makes life better :-)