Roman Patty Melts with Balsamic Peppers and Onions and Sundried Tomato Aioli

Serves Makes 6 burgers
Pairs well with:


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


Balsamic Peppers and Onions:

  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large red pepper, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Balsamic Glace Original


  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
  • 2 pounds ground chuck

Sundried Tomato Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomato in oil, finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of the oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing the grill grates
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 12 slices, center-cut Italian bread
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 6 ounces Italian pecorino cheese, like Cacio de Roma, shredded


  1. Preheat gas grill to medium-high or prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.
  2. For peppers and onions, heat olive oil in a grill-proof skillet. Add red pepper, onion, salt and black pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened. Add balsamic glace; cook an additional 5 minutes. Cover pan with foil and keep warm.
  3. For patties, combine garlic, oregano, fennel, paprika, salt, pepper and cheese in a large bowl. Add wine, Tabasco Sauce and beef. Handling the meat as little as possible, mix with the seasonings and form into 6 flat, oval patties that fit the bread slices. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or place in cooler.
  4. For aioli, mix the mayonnaise, sundried tomatoes and the oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or place in cooler.
  5. To cook the burgers, brush the grate with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, turning only once. Butter both sides of each slice of bread; toast one side only until golden brown.
  6. To assemble the patty melts, spread the toasted sides of 6 bread slices with aioli and top with a portion of peppers and onions, a burger, a few basil leaves and some cheese. Spread aioli on the rest of the toasted sides of bread and place them on the burgers. Return the burgers to the grill and cook for 1 minute per side, or until the outside bread is toasted.

Makes 6 burgers.