Artichoke & Sausage Pasta

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I am sad to say that artichoke season is just about over here in Umbria. In fact, although I still have artichokes growing in my garden, there was only one stall at the market on Monday selling artichokes, and they were pretty sad looking. I can’t say why exactly, but artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables. They require some effort in preparation and certainly are not strong in flavor, but I do love the prickly little things! On our first market trip after returning to Umbria, I went a little crazy and bought bags full of artichokes. I was so excited to get my hands on fresh artichokes again that we ended up eating artichokes prepared three different ways that night for dinner. One of the ways I prepared them was in this easy, and quick pasta dish paired with sausages. I love pasta dishes such as this one because there is no tomato or heavy cream sauce. Instead the main ingredients, the artichokes, and sausages are tossed with the cooked pasta allowing their individual flavors to sing, and the oil and wine used to cook the sausages and artichokes thicken, creating a light sauce that lightly coats the pasta. I find that it enhances the artichoke’s flavor if you brown them before you braise them in liquid. If you are unsure about preparing fresh artichokes, check out my post How To Clean An Artichoke Step by Step.

Our sausage links here in Umbria tend to be pretty small, so I’d allow one link per person in this pasta or about three-quarters of a pound total. If you cannot find fresh artichokes, you could use frozen ones, but not canned or marinated ones in a jar. Once I toss the pasta with the artichoke and sausage combination, I like to add in some fresh parsley leaves for a fresh herbal accent, and I serve this pasta with grated Pecorino Romano cheese. You can use just about any shape of pasta that you prefer in this dish. We love Benedetto Cavalieri brand of pasta, and I used the whole wheat mezzo rigatoni in this recipe. I’ve tried a lot of whole wheat pasta, and this is by far the best in my opinion although it isn’t always easy to locate. You can get a few different types of Benedetto Cavalieri pasta at Amazon.com including
Benedetto Cavalieri 100% Organic Whole Wheat Pennucce Pasta, 17.6 oz one of my favorite shapes they make.

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The Artichokes I Bought From The Market

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Artichoke & Sausage Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil, Divided
  • 4 Italian Sausage Links (About 3/4 Pound), Meat Removed From Casings
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Pound Artichokes, Cleaned & Quartered (See Notes Above)
  • 1 Cup Dry White Wine
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • 1 Pound Pasta of Choice

To Serve:

  • Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat half the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, and cook the sausages, using a fork to break up the meat, until they are browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two.
  3. Remove the sausage meat to a plate using a slotted spoon.
  4. Add the artichokes and remaining oil to the same pan that you cooked the sausages in, and cook over medium high heat until lightly browned, stirring as needed, about 12 minutes.
  5. Return the sausage to the pan and add the wine, and half a cup of water.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, and cook partly covered until the artichokes are very tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened.
  7. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  8. Cook your pasta of choice according to the package instructions until it is “al dente”.
  9. Reserve a small cup of the pasta water, and drain the pasta.
  10. Return the pasta to the pot and add the sausage and artichoke mixture along with the parsley.
  11. Toss continuously over high heat, adding some pasta water to help loosen the mixture until it is piping hot, 2 or 3 minutes.
  12. Serve in individual bowls topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.