Messy Hot Meatball Burger

Pairs well with:

Pinot Grigio

You won’t need a bouquet of flowers when you share our Pinot Grigio. This crisp wine with floral aromas is a wonderful way to make an entrance.


1 head garlic, peeled and separated
1/2 stick butter/smart balance blend
3 scallions or green onions – chopped
2 medium shallots, coarsely chopped
9 roma tomatoes, medium chop
6 Tbsp fresh basil chopped (3oz)
3 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped (leaves from3 big sprigs)
1.5 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup panko
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1.5 tsp red pepper flakes
1 loaf Italian bread (semi soft crust)
1 tsp Colavita olive oil
1/2 cup Sutter Home Pinot Grigio
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 6 slices


Mince the garlic in a food processor

Remove 2 tsp of garlic and put in a large bowl

add butter to processor bowl and mix

to prep remaining ingredients:
chop scallions – will have about 1/3 cup, place in a small bowl.
Chop the shallots and place in a small bowl.
Chop tomatoes – I like to use my mandolin to slice and then chop, but not necessary and put in large bowl with the reserved 2 tsp of garlic.
Chop the basil, put 1/4 cup in a one bowl and 2 Tbsp in another.
Chop the oregano, place 2 Tbsp in the bowl with the 1/4 cup of basil and 2 tsp with the 2 Tbsp of basil.

In another large bowl (can use your stand mixer if you like) combine the ground beef, panko, the contents of the bowl with the 2 Tbsp of basil and 2 Tsp of oregano, and the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix with a fork or the paddle to combine. Divide into 6 even piles on a sheet tray and form into slightly oblong patties (to fit the Italian bread) Don’t work the meat too much – make a shallow dimple in the center of each with your thumb. Refrigerate until ready to grill.

To prep the bread – slice 12 1/2in slices and spread one side liberally with the garlic butter

Preheat your grill to 450 or 500.

On the side burner over medium heat – put the olive oil in a saute pan add the shallots and cook for five minutes. Turn up to high and add contents of the bowl with tomatoes and garlic. Cook for five minutes and then add the pinot grigio. Continue to cook on high until almost all the liquid is gone, then turn to low.

Start the burgers when you add the pinot grigio – quickly put on the grill and close – turn heat down to medium low. Let cook for 5 minutes.

Flip the burgers – close the grill again.

Add the remaining prepped basil and oregano to the pan with the tomatoes etc.

After 5 minutes, put the burgers on the top warming rack on the grill and place a slice of cheese on each.

Put the bread on the grill non-buttered side first – grill for a couple minutes to toast. Flip and cook the other side – looking for dark golden brown – on my grill it is a couple minutes per side and need to keep it closed most of the time to melt the cheese.

Assemble the burgers: Buttered side on the plate spread 1.5 Tbsp of the tomato sauce on the bread, add a burger – peel back the cheese and layer 1 Tbsp more of the sauce on the burger and place the cheese back over it and “seal” it on. Top with another slice of bread – buttered side up. Slice on a slight diagonal.