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Pesto Burgers with Tangy Tomato Marinara

Packed with fresh basil pesto and feta cheese, these burgers are served on crunchy, garlicky bruschetta and topped with a unique sweet & sour marinara sauce, a sprinkling of Romano cheese, and an extra dollop of pesto. These richly flavored burgers are easy to make and delicious! Compliment their flavor by serving with Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

Ingredients 

¼ cup red currant jelly
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup lightly packed sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 oz. fresh basil, stems removed
4 large garlic cloves
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup + 6 tsp freshly grated Romano cheese
¼ cup pine nuts, sautéed
1 ½ lb. ground round
½ lb. ground Italian sausage
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Vegetable oil for brushing grill rack (12)
½” slices fresh Italian bread
Tangy Tomato Marinara
¼ cup red currant jelly
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup lightly packed sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
Fresh Basil Pesto
2 oz. fresh basil, stems removed
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
Seasoned Oil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Burger Patties
¼ cup pine nuts, sautéed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ lb. ground round
½ lb. ground Italian sausage
¼ cup Fresh Basil Pesto (above)
1 ½ tsp salt Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Instructions 

Directions Create a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. If using charcoal, the coals should be placed so that they are under half of the rack, creating two zones: one hot and one mildly hot. If using a gas grill, follow manufacturer’s instructions to create zones for both direct and indirect grilling. Begin preparing Tangy Tomato Marinara. Melt jelly over direct heat in small non-stick heat resistant saucepan with cover. Add vinegar and stir, mixing thoroughly. Add sun-dried tomatoes, remove from heat, and set aside, covered, for 20-30 minutes to marinate and cool. Chop fresh tomatoes and set aside. Prepare Fresh Basil Pesto. In a food processor or blender, pulse/chop basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil until well combined. Scrape into bowl, add cheese, and fold until thoroughly mixed. Wash food processor or blender components so they are ready for next use. Prepare Seasoned Oil. Pour olive oil into Pyrex measuring cup or small bowl. Remove skins from garlic cloves, press, and add to oil. Add salt and pepper. Stir and set aside to allow flavors to infuse. Transfer cooled sun dried tomatoes and marinade from saucepan to food processor or blender and pulse until well blended. Scrape blended mixture back into saucepan, add chopped fresh tomatoes, stir until well mixed, cover, and place over direct heat on grill rack. When mixture reaches a low boil move saucepan to indirect heat and keep covered, allowing marinara to simmer. Stir occasionally. Prepare Burger Patties. Sauté pine nuts in 1 tbsp olive oil until lightly browned; use small heat resistant skillet over direct heat on grill rack, stirring constantly. Transfer pine nuts to a small bowl to cool, leaving residual oil behind. Combine the ground round, Italian sausage, ¼ cup Fresh Basil Pesto (above), salt, and add pepper to taste. After meat, pesto, and seasonings have been combined, add sautéed pine nuts and feta cheese. Mix well, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form each into a patty to fit bread slices. Remove saucepan with marinara from grill; pour off excess liquid, stir, and set aside, covered. Brush the grill rack with oil. Place patties on the grill rack over direct heat, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, approx. 4-5 minutes each side for medium. While burgers are cooking, lightly brush both sides of Italian bread slices with Seasoned Oil. When burgers are cooked to preference, remove them from grill rack, and let rest while grilling bread. Place bread on grill rack over indirect heat and grill both sides until lightly toasted. To assemble burgers place a patty on a slice of grilled Italian bread, spoon a generous amount of Tangy Tomato Marinara on top, sprinkle with 1 tsp Romano Cheese, add a large dollop of Fresh Basil Pesto, and top with another slice of grilled bread. Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

Some single ingredients are used in multiple places in this recipe (ie. garlic and olive oil). I have listed the ingredients first in a "master list" in order of use and then listed the ingredients for each component of the burgers, again in order of use. Thank you for having this contest. I had a lot of fun creating the burgers I've submitted.