Amatriciana Burgers With Tomato-Onion Jam, Bacon, and Pecorino Romano Crisps

Borrowing Roman flavors, this burger is topped with a tomato-onion condiment, Pecorino Romano cheese crisp, and bacon. [Photos: Vicky Wasik]

Inspired by the famous Roman amatriciana sauce, a 6-ounce juicy patty of beef is topped with a spicy tomato-onion jam, crisped bacon, and a Pecorino Romano cheese crisp.

Why this recipe works:

  • Using 80-precent lean ground beef guarantees juicy, flavorful burgers.
  • Handling the ground beef as little as possible and only seasoning the exterior creates a patty with a perfect hamburger texture that isn't tight like meatloaf.
  • Deconstructing a classic amatriciana sauce and handling the ingredients differently creates a variety of textures from crunchy and crisp to moist.

Note:: This recipe makes more sauce than you will need for the burgers, but it's worth having some extra to use on pasta or serve as a condiment with roast chicken, pork, or fish. Refrigerate extra sauce in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Amatriciana Burgers With Tomato-Onion Jam, Bacon, and Pecorino Romano Crisps

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:40 minutes
Total time:40 minutes
Special equipment:Silpat nonstick baking mat
This recipe appears in: Burger Toppings Week: The Amatriciana Burger


  • 4 thick-cut slices bacon, halved
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Generous pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck, preferably about 80 percent lean, formed into 4 (4 1/2 inch wide) patties
  • 8 pieces focaccia bread, about 4-inches square each, warmed


  1. 1

    Preheat oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with silpat. In a large wide pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat, turning, until fat has rendered and bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.

  2. 2

    Add onions and garlic to rendered bacon fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and soft, about 7 minutes. Stir in crushed red pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and their juices and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and cook, crushing tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until only small chunks remain. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened to a spoonable, ketchup-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

  3. 3

    Meanwhile, sprinkle Pecorino Romano in four 5-inch rounds on silpat and bake until lightly browned and melted, about 10 minutes. Let cheese crisps cool until crisp.

  4. 4

    When ready to serve, season burger patties generously with salt and pepper and cook burgers to desired doneness on a hot grill or in a skillet on the stovetop, 125°F for medium rare or 135°F for medium. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

  5. 5

    Place 4 pieces of focaccia on a work surface and set burger patties on top. Top patties with tomato-onion jam, followed by bacon, and cheese crisps. Close sandwiches with remaining focaccia and serve right away.


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