Top Chef, Season 8, Episode 16, Elimination Challenge
4 1/2 cups to 4 3/4 cups
1. Toast the fennel seed in a small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the skillet often to keep the seeds from burning. They will become fragrant and slightly darker in color.
2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, until the oil simmers.
3. Add the onion and garlic; cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until they are golden and fragrant.
4. Stir in the pepperoni; cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and evenly coated, then add the toasted fennel seed and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
5. Add the tomatoes and their juices (to taste), the broth, and the bay leaf; stir to incorporate. Once the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, cover and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pepperoni slices will be soft, with a deeper color. Remove from the heat.
Working in batches as needed, transfer to a food processor or a high-powered blender (including the bay leaf). Puree until smooth. The sauce is ready to use. Or cool, cover and refrigerate or freeze.