So, unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, I am certain that you have heard of a little showpepperoni_sauce_graffiato_mike_isabella_delectabelle_recipe called Top Chef. I will tell you upfront that this show makes me as giddy as a school girl and I look forward to each new season as much as most guys get excited for a new season of football. It is hard to beat last season for me though. What a star-studded and incredibly entertaining group they pulled together for the All-Stars season this past cycle.

Any of you that happened to glue yourselves to each episode, and re-runs after re-runs of each episode, will recall “the pepperoni sauce.” You know the one. Whipped up by Mike Isabella. Well, much to our delight here in D.C., Isabella’s stomping grounds, he has opened his very own restaurant, Graffiato, which has been embraced with open arms here in the nation’s capital. And, wouldn’t you know, one of the most buzzed about items is the now famed pepperoni sauce (or “gravy” if you like to kick it old school) that had judge Gail Simmons drooling on the show, not an easy feat to accomplish. She is one tough cookie when it comes time for judging.

So, undoubtedly, your interest was sparked, and you were left wondering…what the heck is in that sauce that makes it so darned irresistable? Well, alas! Your dreams have come true. The search is over!! Ok, sort of dramatic, but here is the recipe for you to maka-da-sauce on your very own. Wow your friends, entice your neighbors, and….errr, stretch your waistline, if you plan to make this on a regular basis. But, everyone needs an indulgence once in a while, and this one is worth it!

So without further ado, I am passing the pepperoni baton to you my friends!

Graffiato’s Famed Pepperoni Sauce

Yield: 4 1/2 cups to 4 3/4 cups

Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Calories per serving: 190

Fat per serving: 17g (5g saturated)

Graffiato’s Famed Pepperoni Sauce


  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, cut into small dice
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, cut into very thin slices
  • 1 pound pepperoni, cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted (see NOTE)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 to 12 ounces canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 fresh bay leaf


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, until the oil shimmers. Add the onion and garlic; cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until they are golden and fragrant.
  2. Stir in the pepperoni; cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and evenly coated, then add the toasted fennel seed and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices (to taste), the broth and the bay leaf; stir to incorporate. Once the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, cover and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pepperoni slices will be soft, with a deeper color. Remove from the heat.
  4. Working in batches as needed, transfer to a food processor or a high-powered blender (including the bay leaf). Puree until smooth.
  5. The sauce is ready to use. Or cool, cover and refrigerate or freeze.
  6. NOTE: Toast the fennel seed in a small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the skillet often to keep the seeds from burning. They will become fragrant and slightly darker in color.
  7. MAKE AHEAD: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...