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Top Chef's Mike Isabella Cooks a Family Holiday Feast

The runner-up in Bravo's hit cooking show shares "Jersey Italian" recipes for a scrumptious holiday dinner.

Pepperoni Chicken continued...

7. Flip each chicken breast over, place in a baking pan, and continue cooking for 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees F.

8. Remove chicken from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Serve with roasted cabbage, see note below recipe.

Makes 6 servings

Per serving: 241 calories, 18 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 17 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 56 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 64%.


Pepperoni Sauce


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup yellow onion, diced small

1 thinly sliced garlic clove

6 oz thinly sliced pepperoni

½ tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground

½ tsp chili flakes

½ cup canned crushed tomatoes

1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

½ tsp red wine vinegar


1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sweat approximately 4 to 5 minutes until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. If garlic begins to brown, lower heat slightly.

2. Add pepperoni and cook 4 minutes.

3. Add fennel seeds and red chili flakes to onion/garlic/pepperoni mix and cook 1 minute.

4. Stir in tomatoes and cook 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a slight boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 50 minutes.

5. Remove mixture from heat and let cool slightly. Purée in a blender approximately 2 minutes or until smooth.

6. Pass sauce through a fine strainer to create a smoother texture. Use a rubber spatula to help push the sauce through. Stir in vinegar.

Note: reheat sauce before serving. The pepperoni sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Makes 12 servings, 2 TBSP per serving

Per serving: 86 calories, 4 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 313 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 77%.


Pan-Roasted Cabbage


2 tbsp canola oil

½ cup shallots, diced small

1 cup pepperoni, diced small

4 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley


1. Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sweat approximately 3 to 4 minutes until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
Add pepperoni and continue cooking 3 minutes.

2. Add cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted (approximately 10 minutes).

3. Just before serving, add vinegar, olive oil, and parsley.

Makes 6 servings

Per serving: 275 calories, 10 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 39 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 631 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 76%.

To serve:

Mike Isabella recommends serving family-style: Arrange cabbage in a mound at the center of a platter. Place chicken breasts around the cabbage. Transfer pepperoni sauce to a gravy boat and serve on the side.

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