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Ciao Down! Burger with Pancetta Aioli and Peppery Porcini Relish

Juicy beef burgers seasoned with spicy Sutter Home Zinfandel, sun-dried tomatoes, pungent Parmesan, Italian seasonings and a touch of fiery pepper oil makes for one outstanding burger. Slathered with a lemony/garlicky aioli studded with pancetta and smothered with a peppery/earthy wild mushroom relish, making every bite a pleasurable experience. Smoky mozzarella and fragrant fresh basil leaves add the perfect finishing touch. Ciao Down!


2 ounces pancetta, diced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced – (1 tsp for aioli and 1 tsp for relish)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Colavita Pepperolio Oil – (2 Tbsp for relish and 1 tsp for burgers)
8 ounces porcini or cremini mushrooms, stemmed and diced
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped – (1/4 cup for relish and 1/4 cup for burgers)
2 teaspoons sea salt – (1/2 tsp for relish and 1-1/2 tsp for burgers) 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel – (2 Tbsp for relish and 1/4 cup for burgers)
2 pounds ground beef chuck
1/3 cup Colavita Sun-Dried Tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasonings, crushed
Vegetable oil, for brushing grill rack
6 slices smoked fresh mozzarella
6 round focaccia or Kaiser rolls, split
18 fresh basil leaves


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the Pancetta Aioli, cook pancetta in skillet on grill rack until crisp; drain. In small bowl, combine pancetta with mayonnaise, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon garlic. Cover and chill. To make the Peppery Porcini Relish, heat 2 tablespoons Pepperoli in skillet on grill rack. Cook mushrooms, 1/4 cup red onion and remaining 1 teaspoon garlic until tender and golden. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Deglaze pan with 2 tablespoons Zinfandel. Set aside. To make the burger patties, combine the ground chuck, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, remaining 1 teaspoon Pepperolio, 1/4 cup red onion, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 cup Zinfandel in large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties to fit the rolls. Brush the hot grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, top each patty with a slice of cheese to melt and lightly toast rolls on the outer edges of the rack. To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the Pancetta Aioli over the cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place 3 basil leaves, a patty and an equal portion of the Peppery Porcini Relish. Cover with roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers


This burger is complimented by a glass, or two of Sutter Home Zinfandel. The bright, juicy flavor of the wine with its hint of pepper and spice is a delicious accompaniment to the burgers.