Say Goodbye to San Francisco, and Say Hello to Mama’s Chicken Pepperoni

Well a week has passed since the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco.  I have enjoyed reading all the posts about the festival, everyone had such a wonderful time, and posted so many great images!!  I know I’ve said it before, but I want to say it again……Thank You Foodbuzz!!   What an incredible community you have given us, we are truly blessed to be part of this community and to have met so many wonderful people along the way.
Just to show you that Chef Dennis can let down his hair and have a good time, I am including a picture that was borrowed from my friend Gina at What’s For Dinner Across State Lines.

Thanks Gina, and yes that is Sara from Caffeina laughing in the background……sigh

So now the festival is just a memory and I have to get back to work, I feel as though I have been neglecting my friends lately and that is the last thing I ever want to do.  Everyone has been so good to me, and I want you all to know how much I do appreciate all the wonderful comments, and shout outs.

I also want to let you all know that I will be doing a radio interview with Rebecca from Chow and Chatter on Tuesday at 4pm EST, It will be available to listen to after that as well, so if you have time and your so inclined please stop by and give it a listen, you follow this link !

Today I would like to share a recipe with you, that has always been a favorite of mine, I don’t make it often enough, but when I do the room gets really quiet while everyone eats.  Sometimes I think every recipe I have has story behind it, this one certainly does, and I hope you don’t mind if I share this one.

It had been raining most of the day, I had planned on fixing the rest of the window’s before winter set in, it was work that needed to be done and I was happy to do it,  Mama Jeanette had been very good to me.   I guess I was feeling kind of down and it showed, Mama Jeanette told me it was time to learn to cook something good.  For her food not only fed the stomach, but fed the soul…..There would be many an uplifting moment in my life because of food and I will always have Mama Jeanette to thank for giving me that gift.
Mama turned to me and said “sonny boy, do you like pepperoni?”  my answer was yes (although I had only had it on pizza), and a few minutes later I was sent down to the market with a shopping list.   When I returned Mama Jeanette was patiently waiting, a pot of espresso on the stove and a notepad on the table.  I would begin taking notes that day…..class was officially in session, and my culinary journey had truly begun.  Part of my first official lesson would be to prepare a “mis en place”  or as Mama said “everything in its place sonny boy”, as I prepped the ingredients for tonights lesson, I listened to every word she said and wrote down the step by step instructions.  It’s funny how hard things seemed that first day, I never thought I would make it……but Mama Jeanette knew I would, she told me “sonny boy, food will be your saving grace” it wasn’t till much later that she would elaborate on that statement………but that’s a story for another day.
I hope you enjoy this wonderful dish as much as I do, I promise not only will it fill your belly, but it will warm your soul.  My friends I give you Chicken Pepperoni!

Chicken Pepperoni (serves 3-4)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into strips, or chicken tenders
1 small Bell Pepper seeded and sliced
8 oz mushrooms sliced
4 oz Artichoke hearts in brine, sliced plus juice from the can
2 oz Pepperoni Sliced, quartered if using deli slicing pepperoni
1 clove garlic sliced
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Marinara Sauce
Splash of white wine
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 tsp chopped Italian Parsley
1 pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Seasoned Flour (salt and pepper)
Olive oil
1 lb Linguine or Spaghetti

Heat a large Saute pan, then add Olive oil and garlic slices.
Dredge chicken breast slices in seasoned flour and add to hot oil.  Let chicken cook for 2 minutes until done on one side then turn over and add sliced peppers, and mushrooms.
Continue to saute for 4 or 5 minutes, mixing ingredients to insure that the peppers and mushrooms start to cook.
When Chicken, mushrooms and peppers are almost done, add the white wine to deglaze the pan and stop the cooking.
Now add the chicken stock, marinara, artichoke hearts(along with some of the juice), Romano cheese and red pepper flakes. mix well. Now add your pepperoni slices, and allow ingredients to sit off the heat, the flavors will begin to blend as you cook your pasta.
Cook your pasta per instructions on the box.  Remember to make it al dente’.
Two minutes before your pasta is done, start to heat your Chicken Pepperoni on high heat.
Continue to heat on medium heat as you drain your pasta.
Serve the chicken pepperoni on a bed of linguine.  If your sauce appears to thick or oily, add a little more water to it, this will help assimilate the oil, as well as thinning it out.
You will see more oil in this dish then you probably want, but this comes from the pepperoni, once the pepperoni is in the pan, you want to limit the time it cooks, the more it cooks the more the dish will look oily.
The pepperoni adds so much flavor, so you do need to let it spend some time in the pan combining with the other flavors.

When you make this for your family and friends have more grated Romano cheese available and some good crusty bread.  I promise you everyone will love it!!


  1. Lauren Zabaneh says:

    Love this Dennis! I love that pic of you too! Hysterical! This dish is so comforting and your story makes it all the more special. Awesome combo of flavors…I would love to have a bowl right now.

  2. Looks great:)

  3. Spicie Foodie says:

    I love your photo, so cool! The story behind this dish is such a nice one. The Chicken looks delicious and I'd love to try your recipe soon. Thanks for sharing. Looks like you had a blast at the festival.

  4. I love your stories of Mama, and her Chicken Pepperoni looks fabulous! So many flavorful ingredients! … sigh 😉

  5. That is indeed food for the soul. I shall visit this again and again to make it. After reading all the wonderful Foodbuzz Festival posts…well… sigh. I turn a little green while I remain pleased that all had the most fabulous time.

  6. sara @ CaffeIna says:

    Forget about the chicken pepperoni….actually not, let's not forget out it! Can I come over for dinner one day? That aside, I love your stories about Mama! They are so warm and inspiring.

  7. Dennis, this looks absolutely delicious! I'm such a pizza lover; this pasta looks perfect!

    Oh, and I love the picture of you as the Rastafarian. Too cute! Glad to hear you had a great time in San Fran. I so wish I could have been there!

  8. penny aka jeroxie says:

    that looks so good! And what a festival… lucky you.

  9. Damaris @Kitchen Corners says:

    It was so great meeting you. Lets do it again soon. As for this recipe, it looks like pizza only better. Yum. Thanks for all your hard work.

  10. Jason Phelps says:

    This definitely has a great combo of flavors. I don't make much pasta at home, never been a big fan personally, but when I do my wife is always happy. This looks like one I should give that rare opportunity to!

    I'm glad you enjoyed FBZFest. I couldn't make it and the recaps are making me a bit jealous.


  11. Andrea the Kitchen Witch says:

    The rasta look looks good on you Dennis!! And this chicken pepperoni looks fantastic! Mama Janette knows her self that's for darn sure!!! I can't wait to make this. Such a great combo of flavors & textures. Thanks for the pasta water tip to help with the oiliness, that's always been a problem with pepperoni.

  12. Hello Chef!!!

    Where to start?? Absolutely love the photo of you "letting your hair down"!!
    Love the story w/ Mama Jeanette – I can completely relate to how you felt as that is how I felt on my first day in cooking school.
    Finally, love the pasta dish – my boys would absolutely LOVE this so will be giving it a try, hopefully this week!!!

  13. Wow! Looking good & handsome 🙂

    Dennis, u're making me hungry with this pasta dish & the chicken looks delicious!

  14. Between reading that recipe and drooling over the gorgeous picture, I am decidedly hungry! I love your Mama Jeanette stories.

  15. Mama Jeanette would be so proud of you. You've gone above and beyond this delicious dish. Your posts are inspiring to all of us.

    Cool picture of you and Sara! 🙂

  16. baking.serendipity says:

    Loved seeing the fun side of you! And this chicken dish looks fantastic! I'm always on the hunt for new chicken recipes and this one is a winner in my book 🙂 Thanks!

  17. scrambledhenfruit says:

    Love your new look! 🙂 Mama's chicken pepperoni looks great too. Thanks!

  18. 5 Star Foodie says:

    This chicken pepperoni sounds delicious, sure to be a dish to please everyone in the family! My daughter would definitely love this!

  19. Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) says:

    Haha, what a great photo and a delicious dish to compliment your talented storytelling. Thank you for sharing, Dennis!

  20. foodtravelandwine says:

    Seve pasta….and I love it!!…..your pasta is yummy yummy yummy!!…..Abrazotes, Marcela

  21. The Mom Chef says:

    Since Sara's going to stop by and pick me up on the way up to PA to have dinner with you, make sure you make enough for both of us. I'm loving your story about Mama Jeanette. Don't ever stop, ok?

    This recipe looks fantastic. Another one to add to my comfort food list. Have a great week, Chef.

  22. what a beautiful and comforting dish as is the story of your first cooking class… the flavors in this sounds just wonderful

  23. Daydreamer Desserts says:

    Look at you rockin' that Rasta cap, how did I miss it?

    I can totally see how this dish could silence a room in a flash, it certainly would at my house!

  24. A multi-dimensional life says:

    I think you are having way too much fun! Love it! Great pic and congratulations on the upcoming radio interview! I love the recipe…I know I'll score some points with my husband when I make this one! 🙂 What a precious memory of Mama Jeanette, and what a lasting impression she made on you! Thank you for your comments on my blog ~ I appreciate your kindness!

  25. Wendy Irene (Give Love Create Happiness) says:

    I love the picture Chef Dennis! thanks for always making me smile 😀

  26. thecompletecookbook says:

    Wonder what your girls would think if you used that look as your new Chef's hat.
    As always, I love hearing more about Mama Jeanette and what a superb recipe.
    🙂 Mandy

  27. Kim - Liv Life says:

    MMM! Dennis, I love the story that goes along with this almost more than the dish itself. Oh how I wish I could meet Mama Jeanette!

  28. Chow and Chatter says:

    great recipe and so pleased to see a fun pic of you can't wait to have you on the show 🙂 Rebecca

  29. What a cast of great ingredients! This recipe definitely looks like a winner!
    I had to smile at your sweet story…I call my son "Sonny boy" too:) BTW, love your Rastafarian look! 🙂

  30. mangiabella says:

    L! O! L! oh Dennis, that picture is PRICELESS! LOVE IT!!! Once again I am swept into your memories, looking into the window of your heart as Mama J loves on you…and as usual you leave me longing for more….I can't wait to hear more of how food would become your saving grace- and I KNOW my husband will love this dish!!!!!

  31. Wow! I feel like diving into that last picture, looks so good!

  32. Leslie Uhl says:

    Love your new photo!
    The chicken looks wonderful, too! Good thing it's too late to eat!

  33. ¡Que rico este plato de pasta con pollo! Me parece una combinación estupenda. Nunca lo he probado, guardo la receta.

  34. Foodtographer says:

    I am drooling over this one already…great story…always love reading about Mama…

  35. jose manuel says:

    Vaya plato rico, esto tiene que ser de lujo.


  36. coco-pistachio says:

    That pasta looks amazing!!!!!!!

  37. You look so cute Dennis! I love this dish, lovely plate, x gloria

  38. I've been a little quiet on the blog front lately, but this was a great post to come back to, not the least because of that brilliant photo of you and your hat!

    More installments in the Mama Jeanette story, too! Dennis you really are a one – give us more in the saga 😀

    Delicious looking as always!

    Jax x

  39. Kimberly Peterson says:

    I love that picture of you and I love this dish!!

  40. I must try this recipe. It looks so yummy! This sounds like everyone in my family would love to eat 🙂

  41. A Thought For Food says:

    Ha! Where was I when you took that picture? Too funny!

    This dish sounds amazing. My husband would go crazy over it!

  42. I love Mama Jeanette stories!! And of course all the wonderful meals you learned out to create from her too! This looks and sounds delicious!!
    Great picture too, Chef! I knew you had it in you to be wild and crazy!

  43. Michael Toa says:

    looking good Chef on the photo. 🙂
    And the chicken pepperoni is my kind of meal. yum. if it's pasta, I'm in.

  44. you look so cute:))
    loved the food and enjoyed with the post;)

  45. Emily Malloy says:

    Love your style. It is so totally you! :o)

    The chicken pepperoni is fabulous!

  46. thespicegarden says:

    What a wonderful food memory and another excellent way to 'dress' the pasta! The photo is making me want to make this very soon! I'll have to wait a day or two, as I made mangibella's pasta dish from your guest post last evening … prima! Thanks, Chef!

  47. Pretend Chef says:

    I haven't even tried this yet and I can already tell you I'm in love with it, haha! The pictures look so delicious and do the dish justice.


    Hilarious picture!

    You are such a great story teller, Dennis, it really does make this recipe come alive! It looks so comforting.

  49. T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types says:

    All the flavors I love, and so easy to put together! Thanks, Dennis!

  50. FrouFrouBritches says:

    Lovin' that picture of you! You look like you're having too much fun!

    This recipe looks amazing! I'm so gonna try this!

  51. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says:

    I was scrolling through my reader this morning and saw that photo and started giggling all over again. I love this pasta dish too, my mom put artichokes hearts in pasta and salads all the time when we were growing up. I'll have to try this. Have a great day!

  52. Hi Dennis-I simply love the photo of you in that colorful hat. PRICELESS!

    Thec chicken pepperoni is so delicious…appreciate the fact that it's not drowning in the marinara sauce, so you can distinguish the beautiful ingredients added in it. Amazing photos, as always!

  53. Jennifer-Adventuresome Kitchen says:

    LOVE the Rasta hat! The recipe looks like the perfect dish for a cold day- a little heat to warm you, and hearty enough to really stick to your bones! I love hearing your stories about your cooking journey- it's absolutely captivating!

  54. Hahaha! I love that picture of you, Chef Dennis! It's nice to know chefs can let their hair down sometimes too, not always hidden under that awesome chef's hat.

    Wonderful story. I loved when you said "her food not only fed the stomach, but fed the soul." The true power of food. A wonderful recipe to go with a wonderful story indeed. Congrats on the radio interview!

  55. You are too adorable! I just want to print off that picture and put it on my fridge to make me smile throughout the day. Thanks for sharing more of the story too…gosh, I love that woman! And I love this pepperoni chicken too. I hope your week is full of smiling girls, plates of delicious food, and sweet time with your wife.

  56. Gigabiting says:

    Glad to have you back. Now this looks like real Philly food!

  57. says:

    Pepperoni is so underused. Nice recipe.

  58. You make such a great Jamaican! And a dish like this that can quiet a room is certainly a treasure.

  59. Angie's Recipes says:

    Chef D, you are such a fun chef! The chicken pepperoni just makes me seriously HUNGRY!

  60. ladymorgiana says:

    Dennis, it looks fantastic 🙂 Love the recipe and the story to that! Yum!

  61. Sarah-Jane - says:

    pure dead brilliant and so n it is !

    A bit o black boot polish and you'd pass nicely for Levi Roots 🙂

    Reggae Reggae sauce rocks btw….

  62. Love that picture of you! 🙂 This looks like a really incredible dish, it's completely full of goodies! Never thought to use pepperoni in pasta but it looks wonderful!

  63. Hey Dennis, this dish looks great, as always. And good luck on your interview tomorrow! Are you nervous? 🙂 I won't be able to listen because I'll be at work but i'll definitely listen to the recording later.

  64. Jen_from_NJ says:

    Love your picture, love the pasta! I'm glad that you had a great time

  65. Liana @ femme fraiche says:

    what a beautiful story, as always! You are truly working in the field you have always been meant to be in!

    PS–amazing photo;)

  66. lifeinarecipe says:

    That settles it…I now know what I am making for dinner tomorrow night! Thanks for sharing what looks to be another great recipe!

  67. Hilarious photo, and great story as always.
    This dish looks delicious! Love the pepperoni in it, and the other flavors sound so good. A beautiful, hearty pasta dish!

  68. Cake Duchess says:

    That photo of you is great! I like the Chef/Rastafarian vibe…I can hear the reggae music playing while I am looking at that hearty dish.I enjoy your mama stories.hope your week is starting off nicely:)

  69. Red Hamster says:

    Thanks for sharing such a cute picture. I'd love to see you cooking this dish with your "Rasta ponytail" swinging.

    I never thought of combining chicken with pepperoni. It looks simply delicious; I have to try it.

  70. Looks delicious. Great flavors and beautiful photos – the first photo is hilarious!

  71. I can see why the room goes quiet when you serve this dish. Amazing flavors. My family would deinitely go nuts for this. Thank you for sharing it and for sharing your wonderful story about Mama Jeanette. It is amazing that you were interested even as a young boy in cooking.

    Great pic with the hat

  72. Piggy Dennis,

    You look great in that picture !!!! and thanks so much for sharing that chicken pepperoni with us. Great with that pasta and gosh artichoke too…love it! 🙂

  73. Love this dish and the story. So many great flavors in one bowl! The best compliment to cooking is definitely as you described, when the room gets quiet while everyone eats.

    Love the rasta look on you Chef Dennis! 😀

  74. mywanderingspoon says:


  75. Anna Johnston says:

    Great photo Chef 🙂 Love the story & recipe too, I've made one similar but not with the artichoke hearts, will have to try this out, looks awesome.

  76. Chocolate Freckles says:

    Love it!!! it looks soooo goood!… It is that time of year that you need comfort food! 🙂

  77. I love a great, hearty pasta dish once the weather turns cold. And simple ones? Even better! You had me at pepperoni.

  78. Favolosa questa pasta! Che bello vederti di persona. Ciao Daniela.

  79. I have to marvel at you;you never stop. This recipe is a keeper; love everything about and will make it as a special meal for my son's visit; thanks.

  80. Chef Dennis, what a great meal, I love chicken and the hub loves Pepperoni, YUM!

  81. wow this looks so good, and warm, and comforting. thank you for the lovely home-cookin' recipe!

  82. Pacheco Patty says:

    Great look! I enjoyed reading the story behind your Chicken Pepperoni and the photo is just luscious:)
    Ps. I'm glad you shared the photo of your new look, it's amazing what a visit to SF does for people;)

  83. Great hat! Are you sporting a pony tail? Cool. I wish my dearly beloved still had enough hair to pull one off. Love your chicken dish; I'll have to try it after Thanksgiving week is finally over.

  84. Evan @swEEts says:

    MMmm food silence. I love when that happens.. this dish looks amazing- I'm sending it to my boyfriend immediately as a hint 🙂

  85. Well, Dennis…as much as Mama Jeanette provided a pivitol point in your life towards a huge change…I get the feeling that you letting loose at FoodBuzz…has been one more pivitol point that you'll be referring to for time to come ;o)

    This recipe looks and reads like a meal I'd have with my eyes closed!
    Buon appetito ;o)

    Have a great week and flavourful wishes,

  86. Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron says:

    OMG Chef Dennis haha this makes my day! I agree I've checked a few foodies talking about FoodBuzz Festivals and they all had a wonderful time. It would be so nice to get to meet you in person. Anyway, the chicken pepperoni looks so good! I will have to minus chicken because I've intaked so much chicken from leftover from the catering.

  87. denise @ quickies on the dinner table says:

    That picture is priceless LOL Congratulations on your radio interview Dennis 🙂

    I love this chicken dish – such rich flavours and such a comfort to eat. I'm not suprised it reduces diners to a reverent silence!

    Hope you share more of your stories about Mama Jeannette. I love reading them…..

  88. Chef Dennis…this pasta dish looks delicious, the idea of having pepperoni and chicken all together sounds and looks very mouthwatering. Great pictures!

  89. I'm grinning because (as I recall) Chicken Pepperoni played a big part in an old Goldie Hawn/Chevy Chase movie…Seems Like Old Times. Hope you've seen it so you can smile too!
    And now I have a recipe for it!! What fun.

  90. would you believe i've only ever eaten pepperoni on pizza?!? i need to branch out. 🙂

  91. Sprinkles of Parsley says:

    I absolutely love flavorful pasta dishes like this. The flavors in this dish are right up my alley! Thanks for the delicious recipe!!

  92. Marguerite says:

    Great photos! Love that hat, too. And the Chicken Pepperoni looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing the great recipe.

  93. Sounds like a wonderful time. I hope to make it next year.

  94. Thanks for add and comment Dennis! Your blog is amazing!
    – Allison

  95. I love that you can let your hair down and have a great time! LOL!

    I am going out of town next week but will definitely be making this when I get back the following week. Thanks for sharing!

  96. Shelly Borrell (Nibbles of Tidbits) says:

    Hi Dennis. It was fun meeting you and your Buitoni Flip Book crew at the Tasting Pavilion during Foodbuzz — As you know, I posted your photo on Nibbles of Tidbits. Thanks for the comment. I'll have to let the others know about it too. Wish we were there again eating all the same stuff!

  97. bunkycooks says:

    Love the pic! That is awesome. 🙂 Mama knows best again by the look of this dish. It looks like a winner to me.

  98. I love Mama Jeanette. She is a real mama-the very essence of that word;)
    Oh, and this looks like such wonderful comfort food, Dennis. Don't tell anyone, but I would probably sneak a bowl…!

  99. Mama Jeannette taught you well! This is just insanely delicious looking! Packed with many of the flavors I love. Great picture!!

  100. I'm glad you had a wonderful time at the Foodbuzz festival, meeting new friends and letting your hair down (love that picture, by the way 🙂 ). Thank you for another wonderful Mama Jeanette story full of heart and good food!

  101. The Rowdy Chowgirl says:

    Oh my goodness! Love that hat!

  102. OMG…I love your new style so much and the food looks amazing again. Thank you for sharing. 😀

  103. amanda@seegirlcook says:

    hahah, hilarious picture! the chicken pepperoni looks amaazing!

  104. Magic of Spice says:

    Beautiful dish, and Mama Jeanette knows her stuff 🙂
    Love the photo at the festival, Gina had a blast from what I've heard 🙂

  105. Pegasuslegend says:

    This is fabulous! I love the story, what a great read thanks so much for leading me here! awesome post!

  106. Oh, Dennis, this looks like a wonderful dish!!! I love finding recipes like this that are pure comfort food. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend my friend!! Kate

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