Pepperoni sauce

So when I say pepperoni sauce you either immediately think of Top Chef or you think, “Wait, what?”

A chef made this during the 2011 season of Top Chef and I was fascinated by it.  How had this never been done before? It’s brilliant, and certainly never occurred to me to make it.

I’ve made some tweaks to it for us — we like a little more sweetness in our tomato-based sauces, and I also used bacon grease instead of olive oil — sticking with the pork theme, right? But I didn’t stray too far from the original.

This sauce is fantastic on a meatball sandwich, on pasta, or anything you’d use red sauce on. I definitely want to try it with pizza soon. Love it!

Pepperoni sauce


  • 2 Tbsp. or so bacon grease (or olive oil if that sounds better to you)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces pepperoni, cut into thin slices (I used Boar’s Head)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar


  1. Heat the bacon grease in a large, heavy pot till it’s nice and hot, then cook the onions over low to medium heat till they’re very soft — a good 15 minutes or so. If you’re worried about them burning you can add a few splashes of water to the pan to help with that
  2. When the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or so until they’re soft — keep an eye on them because they’re easier to burn
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 45 minutes, but longer won’t hurt anything
  4. Puree with a stick blender or in an actual blender till completely smooth, and enjoy!

I need more ways to incorporate this into my life. What would you use it on?

8 thoughts on “Pepperoni sauce

  1. Even though I was totally on Team Richard, this sauce made me love Mike in a crazy way. And when I read your title, I thought of Gayle “Pepperoni Sauuuuuuucce.” Can’t wait to try this! 🙂

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