Pepperoni is no longer just on top of pizza; instead, it’s on the side, the bottom and inside of any meal or daypart. America’s long love affair with culinary innovation has contributed to pepperoni’s successful acceptance as a topping or ingredient in every possible meal.
Creative restaurateurs add pepperoni to their appetizers for an upcharge. For example, add a spicy version to potato skins, artichoke dip, breadsticks, nachos, garlic knots or cheese plates. Or create a fun pizza dip using your sauce, pepperoni, ricotta and cream cheese to serve with breadsticks. Stuff large deep-fried risotto balls with pepperoni and mozzarella, rolled in breadcrumbs.
Give your green salads and cold pasta salads a kick with sliced or cubed pepperoni – it’s a creative way to turn them into great sides or full lunch entrées. Also, the salads become easy meals to takeout for the pro on-the-go. Or offer your guests a choice of pepperoni or salami on your chef’s salad.
Restaurants can expand menu selections by enhancing soups with pepperoni. Imagine a handful of crispy, crumbled pepperoni on top of a creamy potato soup or cubed spicy salami in a cup or bowl of homemade minestrone. An appealing bi-cultural combination of Tex-Italian dishes could feature avocado fundido and pepperoni soup. These creations will bring smiles to your guests.
Pepperoni Caprese Sandwiches
Italian deli sandwiches aren’t really Italian without slices of pepperoni. Add pepperoni to a warm Stromboli or Calzone. Delight guests by stuffing heated marinara sauce and pepperoni into a pocket grinder roll, smother it in mozzarella, and bake it to create the hot pepperoni sub. Another creation, a hot Sicilian Stromboli, features ham, salami, pepperoni, bacon and all the fixings. Try adult versions of favorites such as: grilled cheese with pepperoni, a pizza burger with mozzarella and pepperoni, or another bi-cultural combination of pizza quesadilla with pepperoni. These warm sandwiches are great for autumn picnics.
Take hot pasta dishes to a higher, unexpected culinary level by tossing in cubed, sliced or crisped pepperoni. Add pepperoni to excite spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan, or mac and cheese recipes. Sliced or cubed pepperoni also work well with hot pasta dishes such as Chicken Alfredo.
Unchain menus by whipping up unusual bacon jam or pepperoni and Soppressata jam, which can be used on pizzas along with Mozzarella and ricotta.
Pepperoni’s versatility and distinctive flavor provide an ideal combination to include it in a wide array of recipes. Try taking a look at your menu and identify the opportunities to give your guests a special treat to dazzle an ordinary selection. In these days of Instagram and Yelp, you want to stand out in the crowd.
And oh yes, as America’s most popular topping, it remains the king of the pizza. There are many styles and flavors of pizza and they’re all better with the soothing aroma and delicious taste of warm pepperoni slices.