Memories of the “Top Chef All-Stars” finale are fading, yet the buzz about cheftestant Mike Isabella’s pepperoni sauce still hangs in the Internet air.
Our D.C. finalist served it with braised pork shoulder, roasted turnips and cabbage. The sauce set judge Gail Simmons a’swooning, calling it “crazy business!” At the mere mention of its name, “Top Chef” Twitterverse fans are moved to type Tarzan-style: Want. Now.
But Isabella did not give Bravo the recipe to post on its Web site. “They got enough out of me,” he grins. It’s not that he wasn’t willing to share with the public; after all, he says, “it’s not a state secret. It’s food.”
He hadn’t originally planned on making the sauce at Graffiato, still on schedule to open in May. Now, he says, “you can bet it will be on the menu.”
After the show, he explained how to make it, sort of. As with all great sauces, though, details matter.
So here they are. The sauce is salty and spicy; you don’t need a lot of it. Isabella suggests serving it alongside chicken. I could see adding it, like a concentrate, to boost the flavor of your favorite tomato sauce for pasta; with roasted vegetables; for dipping with warm focaccia. Or eating out of the jar, with a spoon.
Makes 4 1/2 cups to 4 3/4 cups
This sauce may turn out to be a bit more textured, depending on how you puree it. Still tastes just as good.
MAKE AHEAD: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil