Justin Severino is an old-fashioned food maverick. The former chef – Bernardus, Manresa – is currently into handcrafted charcuterie and traditionally butchered meats. Primarily pork, which he gets from pastured, free-roaming pigs raised on TLC Ranch. What Severino does with the dense, flavorful meat is nothing short of sorcery. The proof is in the tasting, so I suggest you hit either the Westside farmers market this Saturday, or the downtown Santa Cruz farmers market on Wednesday.
Look for Severino’s Community Butcher, Inc. And grab – with both hands – all the packages of Spicy Italian Sausage you can carry ($6/lb). I grilled a few of these last week to serve next to my favorite Pasta Mike’s raviolis. Bursting with flavor! In addition to the lean-but-delicious pasture-raised pork, Severino’s sausages acquire zingy flavor from local dried chilis, coriander, fennel, black pepper and smoked paprika. Definitive Italian sausage any way you slice it. You need to try this. Need to.