Sunday, March 10, 2013

At Home: Graffiato Pepperoni Sauce

For my next Restaurant Recreations...At Home, sample the pepperoni sauce that won Chef Michael Isabella so much praise on the finale of Season 8 Top Chef All-Stars and has been featured on the menu at Graffiato.  Top Chef judge Gail Simmons praised, "That pepperoni sauce was fantastic. The whole dish was great, it was herby, it was beautifully braised, and there was tons of flavor. That pepperoni sauce was just crazy. I got excited about it because it was a crazy idea to make a sauce, basically a puree of pepperoni. Really that flavor of pepperoni is very distinct and it reminds me of take-out pizza. I'd never seen anyone do anything with it that it took it in a whole different direction. It was intense!"
Left: The winning dish from Top Chef All-Stars; Middle: Chef Isabella; Right: The dish from Graffiato
Graffiato Pepperoni Sauce (Makes 4½ cups to 4¾ cups)
  • 6 oz pepperoni, cut into thin slices 
  • 4 oz yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin 
  • 1 teasp chili flake 
  • 1 teasp fennel seed, toasted
  • 4 oz crushed San Marzano tomatoes, chopped 
  • 4 oz chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teasp salt
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

- In a pot, sweat onions in olive oil for five to seven minutes.
- Add garlic and continue to sweat for two minutes.
- Add the pepperoni and cook for about three more minutes.
- Add spices and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the crushed tomatoes with the juice and cook for five more minutes.
- Lastly, add chicken stock and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from heat and puree in a blender.
- Season with salt and pass it through a fine china cap.
- Finally, add the splash of vinegar.

Keith has made this a couple times now, and it is quite easy.  We used pre-sliced pepperoni that we got from A.Literi's this go round, but have also used a full link you can find packaged at the grocery store.  We did not have a "china cap" or fine strainer to pass the sauce through after blending, so it was slightly grittier than what you'd get at the restaurant, but we didn't mind as the flavor and spice really came through.  We served the pepperoni sauce over sauteed chicken with a side of creamy garlic polenta, and it made an elegant dinner.  Try recreating this restaurant dish for yourself!

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