What do I know about football? I'd say the answer is "enough". As a child my dad would take me to football matches to see his beloved team - Newcastle United - play. I'd sit there eating my chicken balti pie, an eight year old surrounded my t-shirtless Geordies, their big stomachs wobbling with every cheer. Or groan. (My dad wasn't shirtless, FYI.)
Years later, I still don't understand the off-side rule, but I do get the passion for the sport. It would be foolish of me to mock an avid football fan considering my own Springsteen loving tendencies.
So yes, I'll be embracing the World Cup this year. That's why Waitrose asked me to combine my love of burgers, with my tolerance of football, to create a burger recipe inspired by one of the countries playing. I went for Italy, because as well as obsessing over Italian food and ingredients, it's the one country I'm always planning my next trip to. On the Waitrose football party page you'll find some other very nice burger recipes from other burger and football fans.
As you'll know I eat many many burgers, but living in a city with so many good options, I admit I rarely make them myself. I requested help from friends, and together we created a recipe: rustic (aka messy) Italian burgers. Shockingly, the results were really quite impressive.
Waitrose would like football fans and burger fans to enjoy the World Cup with a home made burger in hand, which sounds like a bright idea. So if you like the look of this Italian Stallion, try it yourself using my recipe below.
1 500g pack of Aberdeen Angus beef mince (as high a fat content as possible)
2 packs of pancetta
1 pack of prosciutto
1 pack of fresh basil
2 packs of good quality mozzarella
One clove of garlic
1 jar sundried tomatoes
1 packet of rocket
1) Thinly slice two packets of pancetta and mix with the packet of good quality, high fat content beef mince. Chop four basil leaves and add to the mixture with salt and pepper for seasoning.
2) Roll the beef and pancetta mix into balls (somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball size). Flatten, and place a few small tears of mozzarella in the middle of the patty. Place a second patty on top, and press together to make one thicker patty, with a hidden mozzarella centre. Seal at the sides as much as possible with your hands.
3) Heat a dash of olive oil and finely chopped garlic in a small saucepan. Once sizzling, add approximately 150ml of passata, a teaspoon of brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir continuously on a low heat to reduce down into your home-made Italian ketchup
4) Pre-heat a pan with oil, season both sides of the patties with salt and fry on the first side for a couple of minutes. Flip, and place a layer of mozzarella on the cooked side of the patty. Continue to cook for a couple more minutes until medium rare
5) In a separate pan fry your prosciutto until crispy
6) Use Waitrose focaccia as your “bun” cutting it into large squares. Place in the oven for the time advised on the pack, toasting the inside of the bottom “bun” and “lid”
7) Once warm, spread the inside of the bun with your Italian ketchup. Place the patty onto the bottom bun and top with a slice of crispy prosciutto, a couple of thinly sliced sundried tomatoes and a small handful of rocket. Top with your focaccia lid.
8) Eat and enjoy, watching the World Cup!
Visit the World Cup Football Party Home Inspirations page. Here you'll find loads of other burger recipes, from various countries around the world.