These hearty Italian-Stuffed Artichokes have everything you love about Italian food! Full of toasty breadcrumbs, sausage, garlic, cheese, and seasonings, they can also be prepped ahead of time for an impressive appetizer or side dish. Add a salad or soup and you've got a meal!
½smallred onionfinely chopped (approximately ½ cup)
8ouncesItalian sausagemild or spicy
½teaspooncrushed red pepper flakesor to taste/tolerance
½cupfreshly grated Parmesan cheese
4largelemonsjuiced, divided plus more for serving if desired
White wineoptional, for baking dish
Marinara sauceoptional, for serving
Make the Filling
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Wipe out the skillet to remove any crumbs. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet or saute pan used to toast the breadcrumbs. Add the onion and cook 3-5 minutes or until softened.
Add the Italian sausage and cook, stirring frequently to break up the sausage as much as possible. (You don't want large chunks.) Cook until no longer pink then drain off any excess grease.
Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook briefly. Drain the excess grease from the pan and let cool briefly. Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the breadcrumbs.
To the bowl, add crushed red pepper flakes and parsley. Add the Parmesan cheese when the sausage and breadcrumbs are completely cool. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Fill a glass or other microwave-safe bowl with water that's large enough to hold both artichokes so they're both submerged. (The bowl should also fit in your microwave.)
Add ¾ of the lemon juice.
Trim the stems and tough outer leaves from the bottom of each artichoke. Immediately immerse in the acidulated water to prevent browning and repeat often during the trimming process.
Prep the Artichokes
Cut the top ¼th off the artichoke then trim the tips from each one of the remaining leaves.
Immerse both trimmed artichokes into the bowl of water. Cover with plastic. Microwave on HIGH for 12 minutes.
Remove the artichokes with tongs and let cool to the touch. Gently pry open the center leaves and carefully scoop out the center leaves and the fuzzy "choke" with a twisting motion using a large soup spoon.
Place the artichokes in a baking dish. Give them a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Starting in the center, stuff each artichoke with equal amounts of the sausage and breadcrumb mixture then work your way to the outer leaves, distributing the mixture as evenly as possible.
Pour ½ cup dry white wine in teh bottom of the baking dish if using.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the center of each artichoke registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Serve with marinara sauce for dipping if desired.
MAKE AHEAD: This stuffed artichokes recipe can be made a day ahead of time up to this point. Cover securely then refrigerate until ready to bake.SLOW-COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 6 to 8 hours or on the HIGH setting for 3 to 4 hours. The leaves should pull out easily.