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Pancetta Topped Burger with Grilled Tomato Steaks and Sweet Smoky Aioli

I adore Italian food. This burger incorporates my favorite seasonings, flavors and herbs into one heavenly package. It's incredibly easy to prepare and just like all of my cooking uses ingredients I have on hand or can easily get. It's perfect for summer with fresh tomatoes, garden herbs and of course the outdoor cooking.


Sweet Smoky Aioli
1 cup light mayo Salad dressing
1/4 cup Sutter Home Chardonnay
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2TBSP fresh basil finely chopped
1/2 TBSP fresh oregano finely chopped
1/8 tsp kosher salt
Grilled Tomato Steaks
4 large Roma or Plum tomatoes
2/3 cup Colavita Exta Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup Sutter Home Chardonnay
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/2 TBSP Fresh basil finely chopped
1/2 TBSP Fresh Oregano finely chopped
1/2 TBSP Fresh Italian Parsley finely chopped
Pancetta Topped Burgers
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground sirloin
2 TBSP softened butter
4 TBSP Colavita Extra Vrigin Olive Oil
2 tsp salt ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
4 TBSP Prepared Basil Pesto
6 thin slices of Pancetta (1/8” thick or less)
Vegetable Oil for grill
2 cups of shredded Fontina cheese (divided into 1/3 cup servings) Reserved marinade from tomatoes
12 1” thick slices of Sourdough bread
3 cups baby Romaine Lettuce


Prepare a medium-hot fire for direct cooking in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Prepare Aioli: Whisk together dressing, Chardonnay, Vinegar, garlic, cumin, basil,oregano, salt in small bowl and set aside in cooler or fridge. Prepare Marinade and marinate tomatoes Slice tomatoes lengthwise into 12 thick slices, at least 1/2" thick. Place tomatoes in one layer in a shallow baking glass baking dish. Whisk together Colavita Extra Virgin Olive oil, Chardonnay, salt pepper, basil oregano, and parsley. Pour marinade over tomatoes and set aside.Turn occasionally while grilling burgers. Prepare burgers In a bowl mix together the ground beef,ground sirloin, butter, Colavita Olive oil, salt, pepper and pesto. Divide into 6 equal portions. Form patties into rounds about ½” larger than the pancetta to allow for shrinkage. Gently press pancetta into tops of patties. Make sure the Pancetta is slightly enclosed by the sides of the patty. Should be well indented into patty. Brush grill grate with oil and place patties on grill pancetta side up. Close lid and cook burger until sides begin to cook and burger is nicely browned on bottom. Flip burgers over and cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and Pancetta begins to crisp. Turn burgers over so pancetta side is up and move to outside edge of grill or cooler part of grill. Place 1/3 cup shredded cheese on top of burger. Grill Tomatoes. Remove tomatoes from marinade with tongs and place tomatoes on grill where burgers used to be. Reserve marinade. Close lid to grill tomatoes and melt cheese. Grill tomatoes 2-3 minutes on each side with lid closed until nice grill marks appear. While tomatoes are grilling and cheese is melting, prepare bread for toasting. Brush each piece of bread on both sides with left over marinade from the tomatoes. After cheese melts and tomatoes need to be turned, lift lid and remove burgers to platter and cover lightly with a piece of foil. Place bread on grill to toast while tomatoes finish grilling. When Tomatoes are finished, place 2 slices atop each burger and re-cover with foil. Turn bread to finish grilling. Finish grilling bread and remove to separate platter. Assemble burger. Spread each top and bottom slice of bread with 1/2 TBSP of sweet smoky aioli. Place 1/2 cup of baby romaine lettuce on bottom slice of bread. Place tomato topped burger on lettuce. Top with other slice of bread and serve.


My entire family enjoyed this burger including ,my picky 10 yr old. I watch it pretty closely when cooking the pancetta side to avoid flare ups.