My Story about Pizza, Burgers and the TODAY Show

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My Story about Pizza, Burgers and the TODAY Show

By Laurie Figone

Girl with Goat

My car phone rang…it was my husband calling to say there was a message at home for me to call the NBC TODAY  Show, something about a burger contest…OMG…I was on my way home from Tahoe, 25 minutes from home…it seemed like an eternity until I pulled into my driveway.  I quickly looked up the recipe I had submitted back in May to the TODAY Show Burger Battle and returned their call.  Questions were asked about how I came up with my burger idea.  I told Sarah that my love for homemade grilled pizza and burgers only made sense to put the two together.  Four days later, I was on my first trip ever to New York to appear live on the TODAY Show Burger Battle (my recipe was one of three finalists in a national recipe contest).  While there, I was treated like a super star…limo service to and from the airport, ritzy hotel, hair and make-up…AND I met Matt Lauer and Giada!!!   HAPPY GRILLING.

Watch Laurie on The Today Show!

West Coast Grilled Pizza Burger

My LoVe for grilled pizza AND burgers is what made this one a HoMeRuN!!  Imagine a perfectly grilled hamburger OoZing with melted cheese, bursting with the flavor of a pizza and then sandwiched between two perfectly grilled pizzas that have been smeared with a kicked-up sun-dried tomato Caesar dressing… ooohhhlaaaalaaaaa!!!!

Pizza Dough Ingredients
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 pkgs. (1/4 oz. each) quick-rise yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup hot water (120’-130’)
¼ cup smoked olive oil, The Smoked Olive-Sonoma Smoked Olive Oil

Hamburger Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef-90% lean ground sirloin
½ cup rough chopped black olives
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1 TBSP. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash-Extra Spicy salt free seasoning
1 tsp. fine sea salt
2 TBSP. smoked olive oil, The Smoked Olive-Sonoma Smoked Olive Oil
4 oz.  Camembert cheese (rind removed) Marin French Cheese Company

Kicked-Up Tomato Cesar Dressing Ingredients
1 oz. anchovy fillets in oil, drained
½ cup fresh oregano, packed
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
¼ cup dried parmesan cheese
1 TBSP. freshly minced garlic
2 tsp. fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/3 cup light olive oil

  1. Make pizza dough:  In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the olive oil and hot water.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for ½ hour while you make the burger patties.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl gently mix together with your hands: ground beef, olives, bell pepper, seasonings and olive oil.  Divide beef into 4 equal portions and shape each into a 5 inch round burger patty. Place half of cheese in the center of each of two of the patties, top the cheese with another pattie.  Press to seal edges.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  3. After dough has risen, punch dough down.  Cut pizza dough into 4 equal balls. Cover and set aside to rest. 
  4. Make dressing:  Into a food processor add anchovies, oregano, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, garlic and lemon juice. Process until finely minced.  Scrape into a small bowl and stir in the 1/3 cup olive oil. Set aside.
  5. Heat outdoor grill to 400’.  Once heated, place room temperature burger on the grill and cook with the lid closed for 5 minutes.  Turn and cook another 5 minutes with the lid closed.  Remove burger and keep warm.
  6. Pat each pizza dough ball into a 5 inch circle.  Place onto your hot grill and cook with the lid down until bottom is nicely browned.  Turn pizza over and spread each one with enough dressing to cover well, close lid and continue cooking until topping is bubbling and pizza is cooked.
  7. Remove pizza from grill.  Place cooked burger on top of one of the pizzas, then flip the other pizza over onto the top of the burger, dressing side down.
  8. Eat it while it’s hot…the cheese will be oozing out…have plenty of napkins ready too!!

Makes 2 Pizza Burgers

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