Saturday, January 21, 2012

Home Cookin'! Graffiato's Pepperoni Sauce

Want to make your friends and family happy?  Those who are in the culinary cognizanti will remember this dish that got Gail Simmons...excited, shall we say?
Truth of the matter is it couldn't be easier, and it tastes damned good.
Mike Isabella was kind enough to share this recipe with the internets, so I thought I'd give it a shot and see if it turned out as well as it does in his restaurant, Graffiato.
Ingredients below are taken, without permission or credit, to the Washington Post's Recipe Database:


  • 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
Start by getting all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.  Slice your garlic.
Dice your onion.
Toast your fennel seeds in a dry pan.  Keep an eye on it and shake often as they'll burn quickly.
Put the olive oil in a pan.  I made the mistake of using one that was too small right off the bat.  Use at least a 2 qt. heavy-bottomed pan.  Get it hot over medium, then add the onion and the garlic.  Saute until it's soft. 
 Add the pepperoni, toasted fennel seeds, bay leaf, cook and stir to get everything nicely coated, then add the tomatoes.
After a few minutes, add the chicken stock.  Wait until it's starting to boil, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  You want everything to be nice and soft.
After you've cooked it for the 45-60 minutes, take it off the heat and let it cool down a bit.  Then take the contents of the pot and puree the crap out of it!  You want it to be nice and smooth.
You'll end up with a quart+ of wonderful, spicy Pepperoni Sauce. 
This was so tasty I had to run some down to my neighbor.  His family was having roasted chicken and they used it as a topper.  They called me on speaker phone (all 4 of them) and gushed about how good it was and that it tasted JUST LIKE Graffiato's.

Give it a shot folks.  It's easy and awesome.  Great for dipping, using for pasta sauce (like I did that night) and possibly glazing. I haven't tried that yet, but I will soon.

Thanks for reading.  As always, comments and questions are appreciated.

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