The Works Pizza Burger with Spicy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Sauce

Pairs well with:


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


1 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel – 1/2 cup for the sun-dried tomato sauce and 1/2 cup for the patties
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 10 ounce jars sun dried tomato pesto
1 ½ pounds ground chuck
½ pound hot Italian sausage
½ cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
2 tablespoons coarse steak grill seasoning mix, ground finely – 1 ½ tablespoons for the patties, ½ tablespoon for the grilled vegetables and ½ tablespoon for the tomatoes
1 large white onion – ½ grated for the patties and ½ diced for the topping
1 large green pepper, diced
24 slices pepperoni, sliced very thin
6 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tablespoons for the grilled vegetables and 4 tablespoons for the rolls
vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 each ciabatta rolls, split
6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼ inch thick
6 slices large tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick



Directions Preheat a gas grill to medium high, or prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover. To make the sun-dried tomato sauce, combine the sun-dried tomato pesto, 1/2 cup of the wine and the red pepper flakes into a fireproof saucepan. Mix well. Place the saucepan on the grill and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the direct heat and place over a low heat to keep warm. To make the patties, combine the ground chuck, the hot Italian sausage, ½ cup of the wine, the grated pecorino Romano cheese, the Italian seasoning and the fennel seeds in a large bowl. Place the 2 tablespoons coarse ground steak seasoning mix into a spice grinder and pulse until a very fine consistency. Add 1 ½ tablespoons to the meat mixture, reserve ½ tablespoon for the grilled vegetable topping and ½ tablespoon for the tomatoes. Cut one large onion in half horizontally. Finely grate ½ of the onion and add to the meat mixture. Dice the remaining ½ onion into ½ inch squares and set aside for the topping. Mix well, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting. Divide the mixture into 6 equal square patties to fit the rolls. Set aside. To make the grilled toppings, dice the green pepper into ½ inch squares and place into a bowl. Add the ½ diced onion and the 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Mix well and place into a 12 inch fireproof skillet. Place the skillet on the grill over high heat. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly browned. Remove the vegetables from the skillet and place them into a bowl. Set aside In the same 12 inch skillet, lay the pepperoni slices flat in a single layer. Place the skillet on the grill over high heat and cook until slightly crispy around the edges. Do not overcook as they will become to dry. Remove the pepperoni from the skillet, place the slices on paper towels to drain and set aside. Brush the grill rack with the vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack over direct heat, cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until done. During the last few minutes of cooking, brush the cut sides of the rolls equally with the 4 tablespoons of olive oil and place them on the outer edges of the grill until lightly browned. During the last couple of minutes of cooking, top each patty with a cheese slice. To assemble the burgers, place an equal amount of the sun-dried tomato sauce on the top and the bottom of each cut side of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place a patty, an equal amount of the grilled vegetables, 4 slices of pepperoni and a slice of tomato. Lightly sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining ½ tablespoon of the grill seasoning. Add the roll tops. Makes 6 burgers