Here’s the story behind Staten Islander’s popular broccoli raab burger

By Pamela Silvestri |
Staten Island Advance |

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While the brisket took the cake at a recent North Shore Rotary Celebrity Chef showdown, the runner-up created some discussion. Competitor Regina Boukhvalova, a vice president in business development at Northfield Savings Bank, introduced a broccoli rabe burger.

And several Advance readers have asked for the recipe.

Boukhvalova assembled the burgers to order at the contest, toasting buns on the griddle first.

She’s competed in this contest for five or so years, and this was the first time she didn’t make pasta.

“This year, my husband convinced me to make his favorite — the broccoli rabe burger,” said Boukhvalova.

What’s the story behind the burger?

“I had a sausage burger in a small pub in Atlanta once and decided to replicate it,” she said, adding that it’s changed “10 times over.” Sometimes she’s zinged it with Thousand Island dressing and a blend of mayo, Sriracha and ketchup. At the contest she dabbed on pureed arugula and gardineier.

“But no matter what it’s topped with, it’s always a hit,” she said.

And here is the recipe.


(Makes 6 to 8 burgers, depending on size of the patties)


1 bunch of broccoli rabe — boiled or sautéed, then finely chopped to 1/2-inch pieces

1 pound ground hot sausage

1 pound ground beef

3 to 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 medium yellow onion, grated

2 to 3 cloves garlic, grated

Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, to taste

3 cups prepared giardiniera (pickled vegetables)


Mix all ingredients (except giardiniera) and form into burger patties. Over medium heat, put on grill or cast iron skillet. While burgers are cooking, run about 3 cups giardiniera through the food processor and toast Portuguese rolls.

Spread giardiniera on the bottom of the bun. Top with the burger and add a thick slice of provolone cheese plus a few sprigs of arugula plus your favorite condiment.

— Regina Boukhvalova, Northfield Savings Bank

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