Meatball Patty Melts (Version 2)

Rach created this meatball burger/patty melt for Donnie Wahlberger, actor and owner of a burger restaurant named Wahlburgers. Layer the burger on garlic bread with homemade balsamic marinara ketchup and mozzarella and provolone cheeses for a really winning treat.


For the Warm Balsamic Marinara Ketchup:

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
  • A few leaves basil, torn

For the burgers:

  • 2 slices white bread, crusts trimmed and crumbled
  • Milk, to soak bread
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef and pork combined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons onion, grated or 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 8 slices good quality Italian-American bread with sesame crust, sliced 3/4-inch thick
  • Melted garlic butter, for brushing
  • 8 slices mozzarella cheese (deli sliced)
  • 8 slices provolone cheese


Combine the garlic, tomato paste and stock in small pot; stir to warm and loosen the tomato paste. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, oregano, red pepper and tomato sauce and bring sauce to a bubble. Add the basil and reduce heat to low simmer, simmer to thicken, 20 minutes.

Soak torn and crumbled bread in milk to soften. Place the ground meats in a bowl. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread, add the crumbs to the meat and season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley, garlic, onion or granulated onion and grated cheese; mix to combine.

Form four large patties, making them thinner at the center for even cooking. Drizzle a hot grill or griddle over medium-high heat with olive oil; cook the patties for about 8-9 minutes, turning once, and remove.

Brush 1 side of sliced bread with garlic butter. Build four sandwiches with buttered sides facing out, layering the bread, ketchup, mozzarella cheese, patty, provolone cheese, ketchup and bread. Griddle or grill until deeply golden and melted. Pass any extra ketchup at the table.

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