Vino Formaggio Pepe Burger – ( wine-cheese-pepper )


Wine-pepper glaze
3 cups Sutter Home Zinfandel ( last cup left in the bottle is for the chef )
4 tablespoons regular stick salted butter
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons nd black pepper

12 slices of bacon

Sauteed Onions
1 large white onion

Vegetable oil for the grill, either brush on or spray

Grilled Tomato Slices
6 large roma tomatoes
1/2 cup Colavita extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon additional fresh ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic ( roasted preferred )
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes which were packed in olive oil
2 1/2 lbs fresh ground chuck
6 slices provolone cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Buns & final assembly-
6 – asiago sourdough buns
12 tablespoons ( 1 1/2 sticks ) additional regular stick salted butter ( for the rolls )
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves ( for the rolls )
1/4 cup additional fresh grated Parmesan cheese ( for the rolls )
6 romaine lettuce leaves



Preparation checklist before grilling: Bring the grill temperature up to a good medium-hot heat for charcoal or medium-high heat on a gas grill. Set out the total required 2 sticks of butter to soften.

Make the wine-pepper glaze and fry the bacon –

Pour the 3 cups of Sutter Home Zinfandel into a medium sauce pan. Place the sauce pan on the grill over to one side for easier heat control. Let slowly simmer and reduce to about 1 cup of liquid, usually about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. While waiting for the wine to reduce, take a medium fry pan, set on the grill next to the sauce and fry the 12 bacon strips until they are very crisp. As your bacon cools, crumble into large coarse pieces and set aside. Leave the bacon drippings in the fry pan. When the wine has reduced, add the pepper, butter, and Parmesan cheese. Continue to stir until the butter has fully melted. Remove the sauce from the heat, cover, and set aside.

Next, grill the veggies –

Slice the onion into 1/2 inch thick slices. Pop out the middle 1/3 of each slice and discard. Pull the remaining rings apart. Now slice the roma tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cover and set aside. Place the fry pan of bacon drippings back on the grill. When hot, place your onion rings in the fry pan and cook for about 7-8 minutes or until they begin to caramelize, but are still firm enough to hold their basic round shape. While they are cooking, take out your roma tomato slices. I might suggest you place them on a cake/cookie cooling rack if you don’t have a BBQ veggie grilling rack. The smaller grill spaces prevent the slices from falling through the grill slots and it makes for an easy on /off the grill. Apply vegetable oil to your rack(s) first to prevent sticking. Next drizzle about a 1/4 cup of your olive oil over the tomato tops and sprinkle with half of your black pepper. Place them on the grill next to your onion pan. Grill each side of the tomatoes for about 2 1/2 minutes. The olive oil will flash the flames so just move them around as needed. Flip them over and repeat the olive oil and pepper on the second side. ( For easy handling, if you are using the cooling racks you could place a second one on top of the tomatoes and then flip both racks over ) Once you’ve started your tomatoes on the grill, be sure to go back and keep checking your onions so they don’t over cook, stirring them with a fork. When the onions are done, set them aside in a foil pouch. The same goes for the tomatoes.

Grilling the patties –

Rough chop the garlic cloves. Place them and the sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped, or finely chop by hand with a knife. Next place the ground chuck into a large mixing bowl. Gradually sprinkle your chopped mixture over the meat, incorporating it by hand as you go. This not only adds flavor to your patty but adds moistness while cooking. Try not to over work the meat or it will get too compacted. Form into 6 equal patties a good 1 inch or so thick and set aside. Place the pan of reduced wine sauce back over the grill’s heat just a few moments so it will thin a little again and then remove. Apply vegetable oil over the entire grill surface one more time so nothing sticks. Place the meat patties on the grill and brush on about half of the wine pepper sauce. Cook for 4 minutes and turn. Brush the remaining sauce over the tops and cook for another 3-4 minutes for a medium burger. Try not to excessively flip the patties. Just before your patties are done place a slice of provolone cheese on each patty. Next cover the cheese with a generous amount of the fried bacon pieces. Finally, cover those bacon bits with a generous heap of shredded mozzarella cheese. Close your lid just long enough for the cheese to melt. Then remove them and cover with a loose foil tent.

Preparing the buns –

Take your Asiago sourdough rolls and slice open if needed. Place the remaining 12 tablespoons of softened butter in a small bowl and cream with a spoon. Stir in the finely chopped basil. Now spread the basil butter onto the inside faces of your rolls/buns. Sprinkle the butter with a generous portion of the grated Parmesan cheese and tamp the Parmesan lightly by hand into the butter with a paper towel. Lower the heat on your grill a little and cover the surface with a sheet of foil. Poke knife slits around the foil surface. Apply a generous amount of vegetable oil on the surface to prevent the buns sticking. Place all the bun halves face down onto the foil, toasting them until they brown and the edges crisp. The butter runoff will flare the flames which is why we protected the buns with the foil. You can also do the buns directly on the grill but the butter flare-ups are worse so they have to be moved more often.

Final assembly –

Take out the romaine lettuce and cut off the bottom lower third ( stalk end ) of the leaves and discard. Now slice each leaf lengthwise down the center vein. Stack the leaves and cut them horizontally across the leaves into 1/2 inch wide slices.

Take a patty from the foil tent and place it on the toasted roll bottom half, followed on top by 2-3 roma tomato slices, and then 3-4 caramelized onion rings. Finally sprinkle some of the shredded romaine lettuce on top, and crown with the roll’s top.