Spicy Italian Sausage Burger with Pepperonata topping

Pairs well with:


Reach for our Chardonnay when you’re in the mood for a rich and creamy wine that delights with the fruity flair of pear, apple, and peach.


2 lbs 80% lean ground beef
1 cup Fontinella or fontina Italian cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Sutter Home Merlot
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tbsp seasalt
1 tbsp hot, crushed red pepper flakes
Pepperontata topping:
3 tbsp Colavita extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1 large sweet onion such as Vidalia, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 hot banana pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips( use this pepper only if you like it hot)
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
6 slices good French bread cut to 6 or 7 inches or 6 bakery Hoggie rolls



To begin, mix the beef, fotinella cheese, wine, paprika, crushed fennel, sea salt and hot pepper flakes in a large bowl. Combine these ingredients with your hands gently but thoroughly. Form the burgers into logs or links 6 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap and set them aside.
Preheat frill to medium high.
After prepping all the vegetables place a large grill safe skillet on the pre heated grill. Allow the pan a few minutes to heat up, about 2 or 3. Add the olive oil and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes allowing the garlic to flavor the oil. Next add the onion and all the peppers and sea salt to the garlic oil. Stir this mixture to coat all the vegetables. Close the grill and allow this mixture about 20 minutes to cook. Opening the grill to stir occasionally. After the peppers and onions have cooked down and softened, add the vinegar and tomato paste. Mix thoroughly and allow another 5 to 7 minutes to cook until the vinegar reduces and thickens. Remove the pan from the heat using oven mitts please. Now add the mayonnaise and basil, stir mixture again and cover with lid to keep warm while grilling the burgers.
Keep the grill at medium high. Place the burgers on the grill. Allow them 2 minutes cooking time. Then roll the burgers 1/4 way around and allow another 2 minutes cooking time. Continue process until the burgers have been rolled and cooked all the way around totaling 8 minutes. Remove the burgers and grill the buns open face on the grill about 60-90 seconds. Place a large spoonful of pepper mixture onto grilled buns, add the burger and a bit more pepper mixture.