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Pizza Burger

Serves 4

I made this for my 6-year-old friend Matthew. He visited me on the show and is severly allergic to dairy and peanut butter. But he sure likes this burger, so I thought I would share it with you.


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped and divided
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (15 ounces), regular or low sodium
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1/8 pound sliced pepperoni, a handful finely chopped into little pieces
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
  • Slice of smoked mozzarella, for those who can eat it
  • 1 large, round focaccia bread, any flavor you like – plain, salt, rosemary or whole wheat would all be good choices


  1. For the pizza sauce to top the burgers, place a medium size sauce pot over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once hot, add half of the onion, garlic, tomato paste and oregano, and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes or until the onions start to get tender. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and then until the sauce is nice and thick. 
  2. For the burgers, combine the ground beef, bulk sausage pepperoni, green pepper and the remaining half of the onion in a mixing bowl. Add a little salt and pepper and mix with your hands until the sausage and vegetables are well distributed. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and form four patties about 1-inch thick.
  3. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about two tablespoons. Add the pizza burgers to the skillet and cook on each side for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Once the burgers are cooked, top some of them with the smoked mozzarella (for those who can eat dairy). Cover the skillet to melt the cheese or place on a pan and melt under the broiler.
  4. While the burgers are cooking, cut the focaccia into four equal pieces, as you would four slices of pizza. Slice each triangle of focaccia in half – through the middle, lengthwise – to create a top and bottom for your burgers. Transfer the cooked burgers to the bottom triangles, top with some of the pizza sauce and then cover with the tops. Serve your pizza burgers with a simple green salad to balance out the meal.