Pepper Crusted Havarti Burgers with Pesto

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.


Juice from one lemon
2 cloves garlic
½ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
½ tsp salt
½ cup Colavita Olive Oil
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
3 T. Black Pepper corns
3 egg yolks
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup finely chopped red onions
¼ cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
2 lbs Ground Chuck (bring to room temperature by setting out 30 minutes before using)
Vegetable oil for brushing grill
8 oz Garden Havarti Cheese-sliced
6 Kaiser rolls
12 tsp mayonnaise
6 slices red onion
6 slices tomato



To prepare the pesto, put the lemon juice, garlic, basil, pine nuts, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are chopped stopping and scraping sides as needed. With the food processor on, slowly stream in the olive oil. Continue to process until smooth. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and pulse 3 more times. Set pesto aside. Turn on grill to high and heat while preparing burgers. Place the pepper corns in a medium zip lock bag and crush with a meat mallet on cast iron skillet until all peppercorns are a medium size. Spread the crushed pepper corns onto a plate and set aside. To prepare the patties combine egg yolks, salt, chopped onions, and wine in a large bowl. Mix until combined. Add the ground beef and mix together (avoid over handling meat). Divide mixture into six patties. Lightly set the patties one at a time onto the peppercorns and turn over. Do not press down as the pepper will adhere to the patties and pressing down may overcoat them. Before placing the patties on the grill, reduce the heat to med and lightly coat the rack with oil. Place the patties on the prepared grill and cook, covered, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of grilling, top the burgers with the havarti cheese. Remove burgers and tent with tin foil to keep warm. Brush the cut side of each bun with the pesto and set each on grill with the cut side down. Grill 1 to 2 minutes until toasty. To assemble the burgers spread 2 tsp of mayo on the top of the bun. Place one slice of red onion to the bottom bun then top with the burger and then one slice of tomato. Add top of roll and serve.