The other day, Metropolitan Market had artichokes on sale 2 for 1…so I wound up with more than what I would typically by for a veggie side dish. I decided to try stuffing the artichokes with sausage. It was a great main dish. The flavors from the sausage and tomatoes drip through the artichoke – no dipping sauce needed! It was also a fairly easy dish to make.

I began with prepping the artichokes. After rinsing the chokes off, I removed the lower, tougher leaves and then I cut the prickly tips of the leaves off (this is optional). Next, cut the artichoke in half (as in the picture). Use a pairing knife to run along under the “choke” and pull the choke out with some of the smaller leaves. (The next time I make this dish, I’ll post pics of this process). Have a sliced lemon handy to run over the inside of the artichoke to try to reduce browning.

Steam the artichokes until they are al dente. You don’t want the artichoke to be completely mushy because you will finish cooking it in the oven. Use your preferred method for steaming. I used our combi-steam oven “Master Chef” mode on “al dente”.  They can easily be steamed in a pan (I would use a steamer insert). Using the steam oven, the artichokes were ready in about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (Our oven is convection, so I adjust the heat down 350).

Drizzle a little olive oil in a nonstick pan and crumble about 8 oz. of Italian sausage. We prefer spicy – but it’s really up to your personal taste. Continue to break the sausage into small crumbles over medium heat. I had some mini-sweet peppers on hand so I diced a couple up as well as about 1/3 cup of sweet onion. Add to the sausage and let it cook down.

When the sausage is brown and crumbled and the veggies are soft, turn down (or off) the heat and add up to 2 cloves of minced garlic and stir around. I’m always worried about “burning” garlic – so I tend to add it towards the end of dishes that I make.

Add salt, pepper about 1/2 cup of fresh chopped Italian parsley and 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (not the stuff from the green can). Stir the yummy goodness together.

Spoon the sausage mixture into the steamed, halved artichokes and place in a pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese. Place back in the oven and cook for an extra 10-15 minutes.