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The Emilia Burger

This recipe is Massimo Bottura's ode to Reggio Emilia. Dry-aged beef enriched with gelatin extracted from Cotechino, traditional Modenese sausage, and the region's Lambrusco wine makes up the ingredients for these burgers. They are dressed with a salsa verde and mayonnaise made with a high-quality balsamic.


  • 2 ¼ lbs. dry-aged ground beef
  • 1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, preferably aged 24 months
  • 1 oz. Cotechino gelatin (See recipe below)
  • 16 mini brioche buns split in half 1 Cotechino sausage (2 lb.)
  • 1 bottle of Lambrusco wine


Time: 4 1/2 hours pre-prep time and 1 hour cooking time
Yield: 16 SERVINGS
  • Pour wine into the bottom of a large steamer pot to the depth of 1”. You can use a bamboo steamer or improvise with a pot and a strainer.
  • Put the sausage in the steaming tray. Cover the pot with the lid and bring the wine to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  • Steam the sausage over the wine until all its fat and gelatin have melted into the wine, about 30 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid into a tall glass jar or bowl. Let the liquid cool to room temperature then refrigerate until well chilled, at least four hours. The liquid will separate into 3 sections: the fat on the top, the gelatin in the middle, and the liquid (wine) on the bottom.
  • Once chilled, spoon the fat from the top and save it for another use.
  • Spoon off the gelatin and reserve. Discard the remaining liquid. You can store the gelatin refrigerated for up to 3 months.
  • Place the ground beef in a large bowl, pour in the gelatin, and mix the two with your hands until evenly combined.
  • Add the Parmigiano and continue mixing until well blended.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Form the meat into ¾ inch-thick patties that are the same diameter as the brioches. Place the patties on a plate as you make them.
  • Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Pour a little olive oil on a folded piece of paper towel and use it to lightly grease the bottom of the hot skillet.
  • Add 2 to 4 patties and cook on one side until seared and well-browned. Flip the patties over and cook until well-browned on the opposite side.
  • Then, stack the patties together, and using your fingers to keep them together, turn the patty cylinder on its side and sear the patties, turning them every 20 to 30 seconds, so they brown all around their edges.
  • Transfer the patties to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes or while you cook the remaining patties.
  • As you are cooking the patties, place the buns split side down in another lightly oiled skillet on medium heat, until toasted golden brown.
  • Top the bottom half of each bun with a dollop of salsa verde.
  • Add a patty and top it in turn with a dollop of balsamic mayonnaise.
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