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Playing Chianti Burgers


  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction, such as Rachael Ray brand or reduce 1/3 cup balsamic with 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 cup good quality organic ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chianti or dry red wine
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sage, thinly sliced
  • Sliced young pecorino, Gruyère or Fontina val D’Aosta, for topping
  • 4 5-inch squares focaccia, split horizontally


Serves: 4


Combine balsamic reduction with ketchup and set aside.

Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium low heat to caramel-colored and very sweet, 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a touch of water to the pan to keep onions moist.

Preheat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.

In a bowl, combine beef with wine, garlic, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper. Form 4 patties that are thinner at the center and thicker at the edges for even cooking. Drizzle patties with olive oil and cook 8 minutes, turning once. Top with cheese and melt under dome or tin-foil tent the last minute of cooking time.

Serve burgers on focaccia topped with caramelized onions and a little balsamic ketchup.