Dante de Magistris Shares His Ultimate Sausagefest


It'll be this x 20 on November 20. (Photo courtest of Flickr Creative Commons/stu_spivack)

On November 20th, over 20 local chefs will converge at Restaurant Dante to compete in its fifth annual cookoff; while past years have included meatballs, soup, chili and ravioli as the themes, this year it’s all about sausage–and in an eloquent touch, the event is dubbed “Sausagefest.” In honor of the occasion, we called up Dante de Magistris to talk encased meat.

“I love [sausage] and it has so much history, and it doesn’t matter what country you are from, every country has their version,” he says. For his favorite sausagefests around town, consult the list below, which includes everything from chorizo to merguez. If the roundup leaves you wanting more, $20 tickets to the event can be purchased at 617-497-4200.

Merguez salami, Coppa
“They do a merguez dry sausage, which I really like. They serve it room temperature, thinly sliced with olive oil on top. It is a perfect little sausage—it reminds me of a soppressata that my family used to make in Campania, but it’s not that style; it has the quality and brininess that I recall from our soppressata. Jamie [Bissonnette] knows what he’s doing completely when it comes to that sort of thing.” [Ed’s note: Per Bissonnette, the salami is currently off the menu, but will be returning the week of 10/24.]

Chorizo + morcilla, Tico
“Josh Smith makes his own sausage at Tico; he makes a chorizo and he makes a morcilla, and both of those are great. The chorizo is probably one of the best chorizos I have ever had—you can tell it is well done and homemade in small batches. He blanches it and cuts it in little pieces and cooks it a la plancha with chimichurri sauce. The morcilla is served with a habanero apple sauce, and in there is some extra blanched fatback in there that’s rolled in paprika. It’s real nice.”

Italian-style, Prezza
“Anthony Caturano wood-grills sausage, ribs and meatballs, and puts them in a tomato-ey sauce and puts it over polenta. You get a little of smokiness from the grill, and his polenta is perfect in my opinion. He’s very particular about it.”

Wild boar, La Morra
“Josh Ziskin has wild boar sausage on and off the menu—it’s heavy on the red wine, and has a little juniper flavor. He does it with a chickpea polenta. It kind of reminded me of a cotechino (a type of Italian charcuterie); it has the sticky texture that a cotechino would have because there’s fatback in there as well. I love that texture.”

Cassoulet, Pigalle
“[Chef] Marc Orfaly does a cassoulet with duck sausage. I think legumes might be my favorite food these days, and he knows how to cook legumes just right. It doesn’t hurt to have this unique, delicious homemade sausage. It’s very rich because it’s all duck meat. I think he does something that’s kind of wrong yet delicious—he poaches it in duck fat.”

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