Pepperoni Sauce


2 T olive oil
1/2 a medium sweet onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
5 oz pepperoni, sliced in half or quartered
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1/4 t ground black pepper
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 lb penne pasta
Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Spoon Mage™ Ingredient Note (edited):

This dish is one of the few exceptions to my rule that you cannot ever use too much garlic, because here, it is quite possible. So just use either a couple nice sized cloves or four smaller ones. Trust me.

Pepperonis are packaged in ready to serve bags that come in a variety of weights. I used half of a 10 oz bag. More was not necessary at all… but it would be tasty. If you can get deli pepperoni, do it. If you only have the name brand package, that is just fine. Don’t waste it.

No you may not use half and half or milk. Yes, you can use less heavy cream and add a splash of vodka, but it’s not necessary at all. Start with 1/3 cup of cream if you are afraid of cream. Then why not go ahead and add the other 1/3 cup. Really, why use less cream? I’s not like this is a dietetic dish. Just make the sauce as intended and eat a bigger salad with it.

Yes, you can use 12 oz of pasta. This is not an overly saucy dish unless you keep adding cream which can be delicious, but not too much or it’ll look like pink alfredo.

Do not add more seasonings. Truly. Trust experience here.


Prep the onion, garlic, and pepperoni.

Bring a large pot filled with cold salted water to a boil.

While the water comes to a boil, set a large skillet on a burner set to medium. After the skillet is hot, add the oil.

When the oil starts shimmering, add the onion and sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté for two more minutes until the garlicky aroma changes from raw to cooked.

Add the pepperoni and sauté for two more minutes.

94a349d861a3046e5d8aba37175f674d_060vAdd the tomatoes and ground black pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

After adding the pasta to the vigorously boiling water, add the cream to the tomato sauce. Let it simmer a minute, then taste and decide if you would prefer more cream or ground pepper.

Keep the sauce hot, but not boiling, while the pasta finishes cooking per package directions.

Drain the pasta it in a colander, return it to the pot, and pour in the pepperoni sauce.

Stir well and serve topped with some fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a beautiful leafy salad, and a loaf of crusty chewy hot bread. Mangia.

Adapted from the 1986 book The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine.

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