One of the things I most look forward to in spring is the arrival of fresh artichokes. 🥳 We eat them steamed, stuffed or sautéed – any way makes my little heart happy. This sausage-stuffed artichoke recipe is a throwback to a meal our Mom used to make frequently (to my dismay). Back then, not knowing what I was missing, I would frequently just wrinkle my nose up at the thought of eating an artichoke or try to convince my friend Pam to let me go to dinner at her house. Thankfully, my tastes have changed and now I simply adore this spectacular creation of a veggie and eat them any way I can get them.
If I am lucky enough to be in Montalcino during spring, I love seeing the baskets and baskets of these beauties at the Friday market in our village. Their bright green and dark crimson color always puts a smile on my face and they seem so content snuggled against each other on their bed of bright green leaves. I always arrive back at my apartment with armloads ready to cook up a storm with these beauties.
I have to wait until the end of the month to be in Montalcino and right now the chilly winter is still keeping its grip on us here on the east coast. Artichokes were just what I needed to at least believe that spring is only right around the corner (pretty please!) For these sausage-stuffed artichokes, I mixed together a very simple stuffing and then got to cleaning the artichokes. I know many of you are a bit taken back by the thought of cleaning an artichoke but please know, they really aren’t that hard to clean. Once you get in the rhythm of the first one, the others just seem to fall into place and before you know, you have a pile of those darn fuzzy chokes ready for the trash and your nice clean artichokes are happily soaking in their lemon water bath.😉
I typically serve these artichokes with a simple salad and a hearty bottle of red. These artichokes never actually made it to the dinner table. We stood around our kitchen island pulling leaves off of them right from the oven. Don’t forget to serve with lots of napkins!
xx Tanti baci, tutti ❤️
These sausage-stuffed artichokes are super easy to make and result in a comforting and delicious spring meal.
For the filling:
- 1 pound bulk sausage, casings removed
- ½ cup grated Pecorino, plus 2 additional tablespoons
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, plus 2 additional tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the artichokes:
- 4 artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Additional fresh parsley, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the sausage, 1/2 cup of Pecorino, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, 1/4 cup of pine nuts, salt and a few grinds of pepper until all ingredients incorporated.
3. Prepare the artichokes: Fill a big bowl with cold water. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the water in the bowl. (This keeps the artichokes from browning.) Toss the squeezed lemon halves into the bowl as well.
4. Trim the artichoke stems to about an inch from the base so the artichoke will sit flat on the stem in the bottom of the pan.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut about an inch off the top of the artichoke to remove the tough end tips. Using scissors, cut away any sharp tips that remain on any of the leaves.
6. Using your fingers, pull open the center of the artichoke and pull out the tough center leaves. Use a spoon to scrape out the fuzzy choke in the center. Put the prepped artichoke in the bowl of water. Repeat for the remaining artichokes.
7. Grab a Dutch oven or pot large enough to hold the artichokes. Using a spoon or your hands, stuff each artichoke with about ¼ of the filling, stuffing the center cavity and in-between the leaves. As you fill them, place them in the pot, stem resting on the bottom.
8. Add about 1 cup of water, the white wine and the bay leaves in the bottom of the pot.
9. Drizzle the artichokes with the olive oil. Cover with the lid or tightly with foil.
10. Cook in the oven for about 1 ½ hours although start checking the artichokes after an hour. They are done when a single leaf easily pulls out of the artichoke. Remove the pan from the oven and remove lid.
12. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Pecorino cheese. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
13. To serve, garnish with the remaining toasted pine nuts and additional parsley. Serve!