Pesto Burgers

Pairs well with:


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


2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
3/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup chopped pecans
5 sprigs mint leaves
3 medium cloves garlic
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese plus extra to top buns with 1 teaspoon salt black pepper to taste
oil for the grill
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
3/4 cup pesto or to taste, recipe below
12 slices sourdough bread or 6 sesame seed buns, toasted
salt, to taste, if desired
pepper, to taste, if desired



Grill: Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Pesto: Place the basil, 3/4 cup of the olive oil, pecans, mint, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, salt, and oil in a large bowl. Using a portable electric hand chopper/blender, chop/blend the basil mixture into a thick paste. Add remaining olive oil to taste to adjust thickness of pesto. Hamburgers: Mix the ground chick with the pesto and season with salt and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with oil, place the patties on the rack, cover, and grill until browned on the bottoms, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the patties carefully and continue grilling until done to preference, about 5 minutes longer for medium. During the few minutes of cooking, carefully place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. To assemble the burgers, remove rolls from grill and spread both the roll tops and bottoms (inner sides) with remaining pesto. Place a hamburger patty on the bottom halves of each roll, then add remaining Parmesan cheese as desired, and cover with remaining bun tops.