There isn’t a single recipe out there that sums up my cooking style better than this one. Take two things you love, combine them in a unique way, and end up with something better than the sum of its parts. In this case, we have two crowd favorites, the burger and mac and cheese, both made from simple ingredients and techniques. If you just smother a burger with a big scoop of mac and cheese, it would be good, and it would be fun, but it would still be a burger with mac and cheese. Putting the pasta into the center of the burger is what really makes this dish special.
From Stuffed, by Dan Whalen.
- ½ small onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 8 Ounces (225 g) Cheddar cheese
- 8 Ounces (225 g) Monterey Jack cheese
- 8 Ounces (225 g) pasta
- 1½ Tablespoon (21 g) butter
- 1½ Tablespoon (12 g) flour
- 1½ Cup (355 ml) milk Salt
- 2.25 lb (1 kg) beef
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Cup (120 g) breadcrumbs
- ¼ Cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 20 tomato slices
- 8 burger buns
Make the Mac and Cheese: Dice the onion very small. Mince the garlic. Grate the cheeses. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta until al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook the onion in the butter for about 5 minutes. Toss in the garlic. Next, add the flour and whisk well to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring the whole time, until the flour turns a slightly toasted hue. Add the milk and whisk well to eliminate any lumps. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Add the pasta, then mix in the cheese. Stir until all the cheese melts, which should happen naturally, but you can put it back on to low heat if necessary. Taste and add salt if necessary, as all cheeses have different salt contents. Pour the pasta into a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) pan lined with parchment paper and smooth out into a thin layer. Refrigerate until hardened, about 2 hours.
Cut your sheet of mac and cheese into rounds about 3¼ inches (8.3 cm) in diameter to facilitate burgers that will be 4 to 4½ inches (10 to 11.4 cm) round. A cookie cutter will help with this task if you have one that is the right size. You should be able to get 10 or 11 mac and cheese patties out of this if you cut it right.
Roll your beef out thin (about ½ inch [1.3 cm]) and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place a mac and cheese round onto the beef and wrap the pasta in the meat. Tightly seal and press out any air.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the olive oil. Lay your tomatoes on a sheet pan and press some breadcrumbs onto each tomato round. Broil the tomatoes for a minute or two to brown the breadcrumbs.
Grill your burgers for about 7 minutes per side, being sure to close the grill or cover the burgers so that the pasta inside is heated through. If you see any cheese starting to explode out of the burger, take it off the grill. Build the burger by putting one of the patties on the bottom bun, topping with two breadcrumb-coated tomato slices and then the top bun.