I love Italian cuisine. Each summer, the first herb I plant in my herb containers is basil. If someone ever figures out a way to make a perfume that has the aroma of basil, I’ll be the first in line to purchase. Basil is native to India and Asia, and is best known for its use in Mediterranean and Thai cooking. Basil is a member of the mint family. You can quickly grow your own in individual pots or herb beds from seeds or plants. The most common variety is known as sweet basil. There are dozens of varieties including lemon and Thai. Let’s not forget the health benefits of basil, which include antioxidant and antibacterial properties along with a healthy dose of Vitamins K and A. With the plethora of basil I have each year, it’s always a nice challenge to discover ways to incorporate it into recipes. One of my favorites is fresh pesto. Of course, pesto is delicious on pasta, but think outside the recipe box! How about as a condiment for an Italian Ground Pork and Italian Sausage Burger? PESTO Let’s make the pesto first. Using a food processor will have a nice batch of pesto made in minutes. 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed 1/3 cup pine nuts 3 medium-sized garlic cloves 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste In a food processor, with the blade attached, add the basil in with the pine nuts. Pulse a few times, then add the garlic. Pulse a few more times and then slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is running on low speed. After all the olive oil has been added, stop and scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse a few times until well blended. Add salt and black pepper to taste. This recipe will make about 1 cup of pesto. Serve over pasta, baked potatoes or toasted bread. However, today, we’re going to enjoy it on our Italian burgers! ITALIAN GROUND PORK AND ITALIAN SAUSAGE BURGERS 2 pounds ground pork 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 1 teaspoon granulated garlic 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon olive oil Hamburger buns 1 to 2 tablespoons butter Suggested toppings: Provolone cheese Roasted red peppers Thinly sliced red onions Pesto Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix lightly with hands until seasonings are mixed evenly with the meat. Shape into patties, forming them a little thinner in the middle of the patty. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Cook the patties until meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. These burgers are great for grilling as well. Top each burger with a slice of Provolone cheese when done. When the cheese has melted, remove the burgers from the skillet to a warmed plate. Wipe out the skillet and return to the stove over low heat. Spread each bun with some of the butter and place the buns, cut side down, in the skillet and warm them until toasted. Top the burgers with thinly sliced roasted red peppers, sliced red onions, tomatoes and pesto. Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram, and firstname.lastname@example.org.