Aubergine burgers and Spaccasassi pesto by Rinci, a recipe by Elisa Cianforlini of Villa Catervo

Sun, wind and saltiness. These are the ingredients at the base of a great culinary excellence known as paccasassi or spaccasassi. A dialectal name that comes from the ability of this marine fennel to split the stones where it grows spontaneously. An aromatic plant typical of Ancona, appreciated since the nineteenth century, when the fishermen used to eat them in large quantities in order to prevent scurvy, a widespread disease at the time.

Paccasassi are incredibly rich in C vitamin, which led at that time to an indiscriminate harvest that almost ended its existence.

Anyway, the paccasasso, emblem of strength and resilience, has proudly resisted till today. In order to protect it, a few years ago it was included among the protected species of the Conero Regional Park, while the Slow Food Foundation of Ancona included it in the Ark of Taste, which promotes the protection of local biodiversity.


A truly versatile plant in the kitchen, perfect for thousands of recipes! Today we want to share with you a special dish of Elisa Cianforlini, foodblogger of “Le Ricette di Villa Catervo”. What do you think…should we try to cook it? Let’s see how its prepared…


Ingredients for 6 people:

For the aubergine burger

560 gr of aubergines


Black pepper

126 gr of breadcrumbs

80 gr of Parmesan cheese


6 rosette breads

3 salad tomatoes

140 gr of Rinci paccasassi pesto.

6 slices of buffalo mozzarella

Peanut oil for frying

Extra virgin olive oil

Pink Himalayan salt

Black pepper

A bunch of fresh basil


Wash the aubergines under running water, remove the stalks, cut them into small pieces and steam them. Once ready, arrange them in a small colander. Squeeze them gently with a fork to get rid of the excess liquids.


Transfer the puree into a bowl, add salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and eggs. Mix everything with your hands until the ingredients are blended nicely together. When the dough is ready, you have to divide it into 6 balls (100 gr each) and then crush them a bit to give them the classic hamburger shape.


Cover the hamburgers in breadcrumbs and fry them, turning them from time to time, until they reach a golden color. Drain and place them on a tray covered by paper towels.


Wash the tomatoes and cut them into slices. Cut also the bread in half and toast it.

Then, place the rosette on a cutting board and spread the spaccasassi pesto on the inside. Add a slice of tomato, the aubergine burger and another slice of tomato. Add a little more quantity of pesto, a few leaves of basil and mozzarella. Season the mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil, pink salt and black pepper grated on the very moment.


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