Zesty White Pizza Burger with Crunchy Artichoke Hearts



8 tablespoons Colavita extra virgin olive oil – 1 tablespoon for the white pizza sauce,4 tablespoons for the artichoke hearts and 3 tablespoons to brush the rolls
2 each large garlic gloves, minced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup for the pizza sauce, 1/3 cup for the patties and 1/3 cup for the for the artichoke hearts
3 tablespoons grill seasoning mix, ground finely in a spice grinder -1/2 tablespoon for the pizza sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons for the patties, 1/2 tablespoon for the avocado smash and 1/2 to sprinkle on the tomatoes
1/2 cup Sutter Home Chardonnay
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, ground coarsely
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
7 each Kaiser rolls, 1 processed into crumbs – 1/2 cup for the patties,1 cup for the artichoke hearts and 6 rolls split for assembly
1 each 14 ounce can whole large artichoke hearts, well drained
1 each extra large egg, beaten
3 each large avocados
½ cup prepared fresh basil pesto
vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, cut 1/4 inch thick
6 slices large tomatoes, cut 1/4 inch thick




Preheat a gas grill to medium high, or prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.

To make the white pizza sauce, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic in a fireproof saucepan. Simmer until the garlic is tender but not browned. Remove the saucepan from the grill and slowly mix in the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese, 1/2 tablespoon of the grill seasoning mix and the wine. Return the saucepan to the grill and simmer until well heated. Remove the saucepan from the direct heat and place on low heat to keep warm. This will make approximately 1 ½ cups of sauce, ½ cup for the patties and 1 cup for final assembly.

To make the patties, combine the ground chicken, hot Italian sausage, fennel seeds, 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of the white pizza sauce, 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the grill seasoning mix in a large bowl. Mix well, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting. Divide the mixture into 6 equal patties, making them a little larger than the roll size. Place the patties on a flat pan lined with wax paper and place in the refrigerator to firm up and chill.

To make the artichokes, drain, cut into halves and pat dry. Combine 1 cup of the crumbs and 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese in a bowl. Mix well. Place the artichokes one at a time into the beaten egg, then roll in the crumb mixture and place on a flat sheet pan. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil into a 10-inch fireproof skillet, place the skillet on the grill and heat the oil until hot. Remove the skillet from the grill, place the breaded artichokes into the skillet in a single layer, drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil evenly over the artichokes and return to an indirect heat area of the grill. Cover and cook approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until artichokes are lightly browned and crispy. Set aside to indirect heat and keep warm.

To make the avocado pesto smash, cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the flesh and place into a bowl. Smash the avocado, with a fork, until the consistency is smooth but still contains some lumps. Add the basil pesto and 1/2 tablespoon of the grill seasoning mix. Mix together well and place in refrigerator to chill.

To cook the burgers, brush the grill rack with the vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack over direct heat. Cook the patties, turning only once, 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until well done. During the last few minutes of cooking, brush the cut sides of the rolls equally with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and place cut side down on the outer edges of the grill until lightly browned. During the last couple of minutes of cooking, top each patty with one slice of cheese and cover until melted.

To assemble the burgers, on each roll bottom, place equal portions of the remaining 1 cup white pizza sauce, a patty, an equal portion of the artichoke hearts and a slice of tomato. Sprinkle the tomato tops with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of the grill seasoning. On each roll top, place equal portions of the avocado pesto smash. Place the roll top on the roll bottom.

Makes 6 burgers