Parmesan Hamburger with Smoked Scamorza Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I'm not denying that I have frequent cravings for big, fat juicy cheeseburgers partnered with a tall glass of cold Coke. They're so good and satisfying that when you finally have that first big bite, everything falls into the right places. Healthy or not, I cannot refrain from eating burgers at the burger joints!

The past days, I had cravings for burgers three times in a row. Big time. On my last dinner in France last week, my friend and I shoved aside our baked fish and went out instead, splurging on burgers and chicken! We took home bags of goodies from the Belgian burger joint called Quick. As soon as I arrived home in Rome, the craving came knocking again.  I wanted to have a McDonald's dinner and I had a little tug-o-war with my husband between burgers and pizzas.  I won after saying just two words to my kids.  Happy Meal? 

When, on the third day, my craving was setting again, I already took action.  I couldn't drag my family again to another burger joint. My husband would toss me out of the house!  The mere mention of McDonald's make most people I know cringe.  So I made my own burgers.  Even the burger buns.  Burgers are not so accepted by everyone in Italy so burger buns are not sold in the bread shops, only in the supermarkets.  They are always crumbly and dry so if you have a nice juicy burger, using the supermarket buns is the best way to destroy your appetite. Then you just get fed up and look for something better, which is the Golden Arches. 

So, this time, I decided to make my own burger buns.  It was an ambitious move.   I didn't have to look hard at the internet to find the perfect recipe.  I settled on Smitten Kitchen's Light Brioche Burger Buns. If she wrote, this is it, then it's got to be IT!  And after going through the endless process of waiting for the dough to rise and kneading, I, myself had to say that this is really it!

Aside from being the only suitable soft cheese available in my fridge, I used scamorza affumicata (smoked scamorza) because it goes very well with burgers.  Its smoky taste lent an added flavor to the hamburger with the help of some ground sun-dried tomatoes and the parmigiano reggiano I mixed with the beef.   With variety on the cheese at times, this is how I put together our burgers at home.  Now that I have found the perfect buns, I think our burger meals will be more frequent than before.  My husband and I don't mind because I am the one who puts everything together with ingredients I handpicked for my family.

Have a good weekend!

Parmesan Hamburger with Smoked Scamorza Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Makes 8 burgers
  • 800 g. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup ground parmigiano reggiano
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, rings
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • handful of ground sun-dried tomatoes
  • 8 slices scamorza affumicata (smoked scamorza cheese or any other cheese)
  • ketchup (optional)
  • 8 burger buns (store-bought or scroll down for the recipe)
  1. Combine beef, parmigiano reggiano, salt & pepper in a bowl.  Divide to 8 equal parts, form into balls then flatten to make patties.  Grill one side for about 5 minutes on medium-high fire.  Cook the other side for about 8 - 10 minutes on medium fire. 
  2. Put a slice of scamorza cheese on top of each beef patty at the last minute of cooking to make them melt.  
  3. Serve in a burger bun (see below for recipe), garnishing with lettuce, onions, tomatoes & sun-dried tomatoes. 

Light Brioche Burger Buns:

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 3 cups bread flour (I used "00" flour in place of this and the all-purpose flour to a total of 3 1/3 cups.)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • white sesame seeds
  1. In a small glass bowl, combine water, milk, yeast and sugar.  Let stand for about 5 minutes or until it becomes foamy.  
  2. Meanwhile, beat 1 egg in another bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour or flours with salt.  Add butter and mix using your hands.  
  4. Add the yeast mixture and the beaten egg until it forms into a dough.
  5. Transfer dough to a floured wooden board and knead.  Scoop dough and slap in back on the wooden board while turning it for 8 -10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.  The dough will be on the sticky side.  Keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will become. 
  6. Shape bowl into a ball and put it back in the bowl.  Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, between 1 to 2 hours. 
  7. Line baking pan with parchment paper.  Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal parts.  Roll each into a ball and arrange them on the baking pan, giving about 3 inches of space in between.  
  8. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or oil.  Let the buns rise in a warm place for 1 - 2 hours.  
  9. Place a shallow pan half-filled with water on the oven floor.  
  10. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius with the rack positioned at the center of the oven.  
  11. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water.  Brush on top of the buns.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
  12. Bake until golden brown for about 15 minutes.  
  13. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.