Italians have a long tradition of using ground beef in imaginative ways, so it should really come as no surprise that they’ve also applied their cooking skills to patties of ground beef, which are called svizzere (Swiss) in Italian.
The ground beef is seasoned with aromatics and cheese, and mixed with bread to give it a softer texture, then browned in a skillet and served with a sauce - giving it delicious results.
For the patties:
- 500g (1 lb.) ground beef (or 4 beef patties)
- 1 slice of best-quality bread, crust removed, cut into cubes, soaked in milk to cover and squeezed dry
- 1 medium onion or 2 shallots, minced and sautéed in butter until soft
- 100g grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- A handful of chopped parsley
- A scrape or two of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the browning and sauce:
- Olive oil and/or butter
- 1 spoonful of flour
- 1 cup of rich beef broth
- 2 cups of cream
For finishing the dish:
- A splash of sherry
- More chopped parsley
- Mix all the ingredients for the patties in a large bowl and mix them thoroughly with wooden spoon until smooth and uniform. (If you find the mixture a bit too soft or wet to handle easily, you can add a bit more cheese or bread to stiffen it a bit.) Form the mixture into four round, flat patties. Sauté the patties in a sauté pan in a combination of oil and butter until they are nicely browned on both sides. Remove the patties from the pan.
- Add a heaping spoonful of flour to the pan and let it cook in the fat for a minute or two. You can let it turn a light brown if you like. Then add the broth, whisking vigorously so it incorporates the flour well. Let the broth come to the simmer; it will thicken up a bit. Then add the cream, mix well, and add back the patties.
- Let the whole dish simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced considerably and the patties are done through. A few minutes before serving, add a splash of sherry and some chopped parsley to the sauce.
Serve your hamburgers immediately, with the sauce on top and some nice crusty bread or a few steamed baby potatoes on the side.
You can add vegetables—mushrooms for example—to this dish to add more interest. Add the sliced or chopped vegetables to the fat after removing the beef patties and sauté until they are nicely softened and brown, the proceed to add the flour and continue the recipe from there.
Happy Cooking ☺