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

Accolades 2009 Winning Recipes
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 bell pepper, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita balsamic glace original


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

Sun-dried Tomato Aioli

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 12 center-cut slices Italian bread
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 6 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, preferably Cacio de Roma, shredded (If not available, substitute with another SOFT sheep’s milk cheese or even cow’s milk Fontina.)



  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
  2. To make the peppers and onions, heat the oil in a fireproof skillet. Add the bell pepper, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the glace, and cook 5 minutes longer. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and keep warm.
  3. To make the patties, combine the garlic, oregano, fennel, paprika, salt, pepper, and cheese in a large bowl. Add the wine, pepper sauce, and beef. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Form the mixture into 6 equal oval patties to fit the bread slices, cover, and refrigerate until ready to grill.
  4. To make the aioli, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the patty melts.
  5. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack and cover. Cook, turning once, until done to preference, 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium. Butter both sides of the bread slices, place on the rack, and toast one side only until golden brown.
  6. To assemble the patty melts, spread the toasted sides of the bread slices with the aioli. Top 6 of the slices with equal portions of the peppers and onions, the patties, a few basil leaves, an equal portion of the cheese, and the remaining bread slices with aioli sides down. Return the patty melts to the grill and cook, turning once, until the outside bread is toasted, about 1 minute per side. Serve immediately.