A ready to eat, hard, dry sausage made from beef and pork that is typically well seasoned with black and red pepper and then air dried. Italian in origin, pepperoni is classified as a small salami sausage that is available in short and long lengths. It is generally sliced very thin and served as an appetizer, as a pizza topping, or as an ingredient for a variety of food dishes, such as pasta and meat. It is available in different lengths and diameters, either pre-sliced or in sticks. The smallest sticks can be eaten out of hand as a snack, while the larger sticks, ranging in size from over an inch to 4 inches in diameter, can be sliced for use as pizza toppings, luncheon meats, or appetizers.
When using pepperoni as a pizza topping, often the fat in this sausage will be released as the pizza bakes, causing the pepperoni to be laying in puddles of grease. To remedy this, precook the pepperoni in a microwave to release the fat. This can best be accomplished by placing several layers of paper toweling on a plate and placing the pepperoni on the toweling. To keep the thin slices of pepperoni flat during the mircowaving, place several more layers of paper toweling on top of the pepperoni and use another plate as a weight to press the top layers of paper down onto the pepperoni. Microwave on high for 25 to 35 seconds and remove the pepperoni, taking it off the toweling and placing it on the pizza. Much of the grease normally released will have been removed from the pepperoni slices.