Are you in the mood for a special Italian appetizer that’s not your average breaded and deep-fried mozzarella stick? Make these artichokes stuffed with Italian sausage!
As long as you have some time on your hands (and no issues with getting those hands a little messy), you’ll be able to present an impressive appetizer that’s worth the effort.
We fill fresh artichokes with a mixture of Italian sausage and diced onions, and top them with garlicky breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
After they’re baked in an aromatic wine bath, you get to enjoy layer after layer of tender artichoke leaves, a savory meat filling, and crunchy breadcrumbs.
And we really mean for you to enjoy them.
While a fork and knife are the appropriate silverware choices for enjoying the sausage filling, you’ll need those eager, excited hands to rip away each leaf of the artichoke itself.
It’s messy. But it’s a mess that you’ll love to make.
And if you’re thinking this would taste great with a dip on the side, you read our minds, master culinarian!
A dish like this is best served with a creamy condiment to dip the leaves in, like a homemade garlic aioli or creamy red pepper dip. But if you’re a little exhausted after all the prepping and cooking, melted butter would do just fine.
Actually, butter would be perfect. Is it ever not perfect?
Whatever dip you decide to make on the side, you’ll still be taking one closer step to adulting with fresh ingredients! Forgo the frozen mozz sticks, and learn how to make these savory, finger-licking-good stuffed artichokes.Print
For a hearty appetizer to share, make our fresh artichokes stuffed with Italian sausage and topped with garlic breadcrumbs and cheese.
- 4 large fresh artichokes
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 pound raw Italian sausage
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill a large pot about 3/4 full with water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- As the water is boiling, prepare the artichokes. With kitchen shears, cut off the pointy end of each individual leaf. With a knife, slice off the stem so that the artichoke can stand up straight, and slice off about an inch of the tip of the entire artichoke. Rub one half of the lemon on all exposed surfaces to prevent browning.
- Place the artichokes and lemon halves in the boiling water. Cover with a lid, and boil for 20 minutes until slightly tender. Drain the artichokes, and immediately shock them in a bowlful of ice water. Allow to cool until they are easy to handle.
- As the artichokes are cooling, toast the breadcrumbs. Heat a medium-sized pan on low heat. Add the butter and melt completely. Add the garlic cloves and cook until just fragrant without browning. Immediately add the breadcrumbs and toast for a minute or so until golden, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and mix in the rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
- Once the artichokes are cool enough, drain from the ice bath and place on a large cutting board or plate. Remove the inner center leaves and the hairy sections of the choke with a small metal spoon. Remove enough layers to create a space large enough to fill with the sausage.
- Mix together the sausage and diced onion in a bowl with your fingers. Divide the mixture and stuff the cavity of each prepared artichoke with the sausage, pressing down slightly and filling each to the top. You will use about 3/4 to 1 cup of the sausage mixture for each one.
- Divide the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of each artichoke, and fill some of the spaces in between the external leaf layers with some more breadcrumbs.
- Transfer the stuffed artichokes to a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Pour the white wine and 1 cup of water into the pan. Cover the pan with foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes until the sausage is cooked through. The internal temperature of the sausage should reach 160°F on a meat thermometer.
- Remove from the oven, and dispose of the aluminum foil. Sprinkle the tops of each artichoke with the grated cheese. Return to the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes to melt and brown the cheese.
- Remove from the oven, and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan before serving.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baking/Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: artichoke, breadcrumb, cheese, Italian, sausage, Parmesan
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep Artichokes and Other Ingredients
While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the artichokes by cutting off the pointy ends of all of the leaves with kitchen shears. With a sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife, slice off the stems and tips of the artichokes. Rub one half of the lemon on the exposed surfaces to prevent browning.
Uh-oh. Never prepped a fresh artichoke before? We have an easy-to-follow tutorial just for you!
Step 2 – Cook Artichokes
At this point, the water should be boiling. Carefully place the artichokes and the lemon halves in the boiling water.
Boil for about 20 minutes until slightly tender. The artichokes will continue cooking in the oven, so don’t worry if they aren’t very soft.
Drain the artichokes, and immediately shock them in the ice bath. Allow to cool in the bowl until they are cold enough to handle. This is the perfect time to prep some breadcrumbs!
Step 3 – Prep Breadcrumbs
As the artichokes are cooling, make the breadcrumb mixture.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small pan. Once it has melted, add the minced garlic and saute just until fragrant, only for a few seconds.
You don’t want the garlic to brown, or else you’ll risk burning the garlic as it continues to cook with the breadcrumbs.
Add the breadcrumbs and toast them, stirring constantly, until they are golden in color. This will only take another minute or so. Watch carefully!
Remove from the heat, and add the rosemary, salt, and pepper. Set aside as you continue to the next steps.
Step 4 – Core the Artichokes
Now that the artichokes are cool enough to handle, remove the interior leaves with a small metal spoon. Go deep enough to remove the hairy choke, but avoid scraping out any part of the tender heart.
Remove enough layers of the interior leaves to create a space for the sausage filling.
Step 5 – Make Sausage Filling
Combine the bulk sausage and the diced onion in a bowl with your hands. Mix until the onion is evenly incorporated.
Step 6 – Stuff
Stuff the centers of the artichokes with enough sausage to fill each one to the top. You may not use all of the sausage (save it to make some breakfast hash!).
Cover the top of the sausage with the breadcrumbs, and use the remaining breadcrumbs to fill in the space between some of the external leaf layers.
Step 7 – Bake
Transfer the stuffed artichokes to a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Pour the white wine and 1 cup of water into the pan around the sides – do not pour it over the to of the vegetables, since this will remove your carefully arranged breadcrumb topping! Cover the pan with foil.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the sausage is cooked through. The internal temperature of the sausage should reach 160°F on a meat thermometer.
Step 8 – Top with Cheese
Remove the pan from the oven, and discard the aluminum foil. Sprinkle the cheese on top, and place back in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes to crisp and brown the cheese.
Step 9 – Serve
Remove from the oven, and let cool in the pan for another 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
Can I Customize This Meat-Filled Creation?
With all the different sausages, cheeses, and seasonings this world offers, you certainly can create a customized appetizer.
Instead of Italian sausage, talk to your local butcher or the experts at your grocery store’s meat department to see if they make any specialty sausage mixes. Our mouths water at the thought of a tasty chorizo filling, or any other kind of spicy meat sausage mixture!
And the cheese… freshly grated Italian Parmigiano Reggiano is always my top choice over the pre-grated option. But if you want something that has a more melt-worthy quality, try an equal amount of freshly shredded Fontina or whole milk mozzarella.
What do you think about making this homemade artichoke appetizer? Have you ever cooked with fresh artichokes before? I’d love to know, and I’m excited to provide any additional advice you need! Just message me in the comments below.
Hungry for more? Here are even more artichoke recipes from Foodal to keep you cooking:
- Grilled Baby Artichokes
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Slow-Cooked Artichokes with Wine
- Cheesy Quiche with Leeks and Artichokes
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on January 30, 2015. Last updated on June 28, 2020.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.