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Artichoke Sausage Pasta with Lemon and Basil

Artichoke sausage pasta in green bowl with wooden spoon in background.
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Enjoy this quick and easy Artichoke Sausage Pasta for dinner tonight. Your favorite pasta shape is tossed with sautéed artichoke hearts, Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a light white wine and olive oil sauce that’s finished with lots of fresh lemon, basil and pecorino cheese. A flavor and texture powerhouse!

Artichoke sausage pasta in green bowl with wooden spoon in background.

Like Sausage Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms, this robust combination of briny, tender artichokes, Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon was inspired by my Sicilian roots.

As the granddaughter of Sicilian immigrants, I was fortunate to grow up with these delicious flavors in numerous iterations. And, while I have never been myself (yet), my maternal grandmother came from the northern Sicilian hill town of Cerda, home of the famous, annual Italian Sagra del Carciofo (artichoke festival). This Pasta with Artichokes brings some popular flavors of Sicilian cuisine together in a savory dish that’s sure to impress everyone at your table!

For a few other recipes inspired by the flavors of la cucina Siciliana, check out Eggplant Meatballs, Tomato Almond Pesto, Spaghetti with Breadcrumbs and Anchovies, Pasta with Tuna Sauce and Bucatini with Slow-Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes and Ricotta, which is similar to the classic pasta alla norma,

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This is a substantial pasta dish, combining meat, vegetables, cheese and aromatics in an olive oil and wine-based sauce with lots of texture, colors, flavors and a beautiful aroma–a feast for both your eyes and your taste buds!

Yet, it is fairly simple to assemble in a relatively short amount of time, making it a great option for a weekday meal with a hungry family or the center of a larger dinner party. Each bite has rich, fresh flavor from the caramelized sausage, tender artichokes, sweet and tart dried tomatoes, sharp pecorino cheese and fresh lemon and basil.

And, the light olive oil and wine-based sauce enhanced with a bit of creamy butter brings the whole ensemble together. A real crowd pleaser with impressive layers of flavors and textures! Mangia bene!

Overhead photo of artichoke sausage pasta in green platter with spoon, in pasta plate and in the original pan it was cooked in with large serving spoons.

Ingredients for Artichoke Sausage Pasta

⁠To make this delicious pasta with italian sausage and artichokes, we’ll be using the following main ingredients:

  • Artichoke Hearts: It’s best to use plain canned or jarred artichoke in brine here, as opposed to the already seasoned and marinated artichoke hearts in oil. (The other flavors in the dish are strong enough that you don’t really need a marinade.) Be sure to drain them thoroughly before using so that they can get a bit caramelized while being sautéed.
  • Italian Sausage: Be sure to remove the sausage from its casings or buy bulk sausage. The crumble-ness is a great texture in the finished dish. I used a 50/50 blend of hot and sweet Italian pork sausage in this dish, but use whichever you prefer. Italian turkey or chicken sausage can also be used.
  • Garlic: An important aromatic with no explanation needed, other than to say use as much or as little as you’d like!
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes offer a delightful burst of intensified tomato flavor. You’ll love the subtle sweetness, tartness, tanginess and a pleasing texture that they bring to this dish. If you’re using dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, use a bit of that oil when sautéing as it has lots of flavor.
  • Dry white wine: Contributes to the earthiness and rounds out the other flavors. A dry white wine, such as pinot grigio. If you prefer to cook without wine, use a low- or no-sodium vegetable or chicken broth.
  • Lemon and Fresh Basil: Fresh lemon juice and zest and fresh basil contribute to the signature, bright flavors in this dish and are just wonderful. If you do not have fresh basil, you can use a bit of dried basil added at the same time as the wine. But, fresh is really best here!
  • Butter: Used to add richness and silkiness to the finished pasta. If you prefer to not use butter, you can substitute it with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese: Sheep’s milk Pecorino Romano cheese is folded into the pasta as one of the last steps to add a distinct sharpness and richness to the dish. Shredded parmesan cheese, grana padano or grated ricotta salata would also be great here.
  • Pasta: While I used cavatappi in this recipe, any short or long pasta would work. Some of my other favorites to use in this recipe are fettuccine, mezzi rigatoni, penne rigate and gemelli. The subtle nuttiness of a whole wheat or farro pasta also works really well in this dish.

Ingredients for artichoke sausage pasta.

How to Make Artichoke Sausage Pasta, with Pro-Tips!

Here are the main steps for how to make this delicious, hearty pasta dish:

  • Prep and measure all ingredients. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    • PRO TIP:  Be sure to zest the lemon before juicing it! Also, avoid the bitter white pith while zesting and try to only zest the yellow part.  Rolling the lemon on the counter before cutting and juicing it will help immensely to extract as much juice as possible.

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the sausage and olive oil and brown the sausage, using a wooden spoon to break it into bite-sized pieces. Once the sausage has browned, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Prepped ingredients for artichoke sausage pasta.
Browning Italian sausage in olive oil.
Browned italian sausage in pan.
  • Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the garlic to and brown lightly. Take care not to burn the garlic!

  • Then, add the artichokes and crushed red pepper to the same skillet and sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until the artichoke hearts caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.
    • PRO-TIP: Be sure that the artichokes are fully drained so that they can caramelize a bit during this step.
Cooking garlic in olive oil in pan.
Sautéing artichoke hearts in pan.
  • Pour the wine into the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for about 2 minutes.
Adding white wine to pan.
Deglazing the pan with the white wine and wooden spoon.

  • Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, salt, black pepper and reserved sausage. Simmer until the alcohol taste has cooked off and the sauce has reduced a bit, about 5 minutes or so. Then, turn off the heat.

  • Once the water comes to a boil, add salt, then the pasta, stirring frequently. Turn the sauce back on to medium-low after the pasta has been cooking for about 5 minutes. Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions, or about 2 minutes before you think it is al dente. Be sure to reserve at least 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.

Sausage, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and white wine sauce cooking in pan.
Pasta cooking in boiling water with sauce in background.
  • Then, transfer the cooked pasta to the pan along with the lemon juice and zest, increase the heat to medium and toss well. Allow the pasta to finish cooking in the wonderful flavors of the sauce. Add pasta water for additional moisture, about ½ cup at a time.
    • PRO-TIP: The pasta water is key! Add it to the sauce along with the pasta for the additional moisture needed to finish cooking the pasta.

  • Once the pasta is al dente, remove the pan from the heat. Then gently stir in the basil, pecorino cheese and butter until well-combined.
    • PRO-TIP: The butter is “mounted” on the finished pasta at the end for additional richness and silkiness. If you prefer, you can use butter in place of olive oil at the start of the recipe as well. Or, if you do not want to use butter, just drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the pasta at the end.
Adding cooked pasta to sauce.
Adding lemon juice and lemon zest to sausage artichoke pasta.
Adding fresh basil, grated cheese and butter to pasta with artichokes and sausage.

  • Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with a bit more grated cheese and chopped basil and serve immediately. That’s it!
Plating the artichoke sausage pasta in a green platter with a large stainless steel spoon.

Try serving this recipe with Roasted Zucchini with Mint, Sautéed Broccoli Rabe or Creamy Spinach–all are delicious pairings!

If you enjoy artichokes, also check out Roasted Artichoke Hearts with Seasoned Breadcrumbs–a simple, yet elegant, appetizer!

Artichoke sausage pasta in green bowl with basil garnish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this pasta with sausage and artichokes with cooked sausage?

You can definitely make this recipe with cooked sausage. I suggest chopping it up into smaller pieces and then adding it to the sauce at the same time as the sun-dried tomatoes, just to heat through.
 
The flavor of the finished dish will not be the same, though, if made with already cooked sausage as the sausage drippings from cooking it raw, which have loads of flavor, will not be present. Perhaps add an extra drizzle of really great olive oil at the end.

Can I make artichoke sausage pasta with frozen artichokes?

Definitely. I love using frozen artichokes, when I can find them. Just defrost them fully before using and be sure to drain them of an excess liquid.

What can I use in place of wine?

If you prefer a non-alcoholic option, I suggest low- or no-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.

How long do leftovers last and how can I reheat sausage artichoke pasta?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat them, covered, in a small skillet over medium low heat with a little bit of water until heated through.


Artichoke sausage pasta on plate with basil garnish.

Recipe Variations and Substitutions for Artichoke Sausage Pasta

Here are a few great suggestions for twists and additions to this pasta with sausage and artichoke hearts:

  • Use marsala wine: Using a dry marsala wine in this dish in place of the dried white wine is actually fabulous and I have done this many times. Try it, then tell me what you think.
  • Add Greens: I love adding a big handful of either baby spinach or arugula to this pasta for increased nutrients. Just fold the greens into the sauce at the same time as the pasta and they will wilt quickly.
  • Make it creamy: If you’d like something a bit richer, add 1 cup heavy cream to the sauce after the wine has reduced and simmer it for a few minutes to allow it to thicken.
  • Make it spicy! For all the hot pepper lovers out there, I suggest either increasing the amount of red pepper flakes or adding some Calabrian chile paste at the beginning of the cooking process (or both) for heat. And, of course, don’t forget to drizzle some homemade spicy pepper oil over the finished dish!

Artichoke sausage pasta in green bowl with basil garnish.

If you like this recipe, check out Lemony Pasta with Peas and Ricotta, another spring favorite!

TOP TIPS FOR ARTICHOKE SAUSAGE PASTA

  • It’s best to use plain canned or jarred artichoke in brine here, as opposed to those already seasoned and marinated in oil. Also, be sure that the artichokes are fully drained so that they can caramelize while being sautéed.
  • Be sure to zest the lemon before juicing it! Also, avoid the bitter white pith while zesting and try to only zest the yellow part.  Rolling the lemon on the counter before cutting and juicing it will help immensely to extract as much juice as possible.
  • The pasta water is key! Add it to the sauce along with the pasta for the additional moisture needed to finish cooking the pasta.
  • Make the recipe your own: If you’d like to try a different herb or leave something out, go for it! I think sautéing some fennel along with the garlic would actually be so good here.

More Great Recipes to Try

I hope that you are enjoying my Italian food blog Mangia With Michele and all of my Italian recipes and Italian-American recipes!

If you’ve tried Artichoke Sausage Pasta or any other recipe on the blog, please let me know how it went in the comments below — I love hearing from you!

You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM to see more delicious food and what might be going on behind the scenes!

Artichoke sausage pasta in green bowl with wooden spoon in background.

Artichoke Sausage Pasta with Lemon and Basil

Michele
Enjoy this quick and easy Artichoke Sausage Pasta for dinner tonight. Your favorite pasta shape is tossed with sautéed artichoke hearts, Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a light white wine and olive oil sauce that’s finished with lots of fresh lemon, basil and pecorino cheese. A flavor and texture powerhouse!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Italian sausage casings removed
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided (can use some or all oil from dried tomatoes)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans artichokes, drained and quartered
  • Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio
  • ¾ cup drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pound pasta + salt for pasta water
  • Juice and zest from 1 lemon (use more if you want!)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil + more for garnish
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese + more for topping
  • 2-4 Tbsp butter, cubed

Instructions
 

  • Prep and gather all ingredients according to specifications above. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    (Please see the section above in the blog post for Step-By-Step instructions with photos.)
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the sausage and half the olive oil and brown the sausage, using a wooden spoon to break it into bite-sized pieces. Once the sausage has browned, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
    1 pound Italian sausage
  • Add the garlic and remaining olive oil to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the garlic to and brown lightly. Take care not to burn the garlic!
    2 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • Then, add the artichokes and crushed red pepper to the same skillet and sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until the artichoke hearts caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.
    2 (15-ounce) cans artichokes,, Pinch crushed red pepper
  • Pour the wine into the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for about 2 minutes
    1 cup dry white wine
  • Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, salt, black pepper and reserved sausage. Simmer until the alcohol taste has cooked off and the sauce has reduced a bit, about 5 minutes or so. Then, turn off the heat.
    ¾ cup drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes,, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Meanwhile, once the water comes to a boil, add salt, then the pasta, stirring frequently.
    1 pound pasta
  • Turn the sauce back on to medium-low after the pasta has been cooking for about 5 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions, or about 2 minutes before you think it is al dente. Be sure to reserve at least 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.
  • Transfer the cooked pasta to the pan along with the lemon juice and zest, increase the heat to medium and toss well. Allow the pasta to finish cooking in the wonderful flavors of the sauce. Add pasta water for additional moisture, about ½ cup at a time. (You can also add some pasta water to the sauce before the pasta is added, if moisture is needed.)
    Juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • Once the pasta is al dente, remove the pan from the heat. Then gently stir in the basil, pecorino cheese and butter until well-combined.
    1 cup chopped fresh basil, ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, 2-4 Tbsp butter,
  • Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with a bit more grated cheese and chopped basil and serve immediately. Buon Appetito!

Notes

  • Be sure to zest the lemon before juicing it! Also, avoid the bitter white pith while zesting and try to only zest the yellow part. Rolling the lemon on the counter before cutting and juicing it will help immensely to extract as much juice as possible.
  • Use a large pot with 5 to 6 quarts water for 1 pound of pasta. Bring the water to a boil before adding the salt. Use 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp salt.
  • It’s best to use plain canned or jarred artichokes in brine here, as opposed to those already seasoned and marinated in oil. Also, be sure that the artichokes are fully drained so that they can caramelize while being sautéed.
  • The pasta water is key! Add it to the sauce along with the pasta for the additional moisture needed to finish cooking the pasta.
  • This recipe works well with all sorts of short and long shapes of pasta. Some of my other favorites to use in this recipe are gnocchi, ziti, penne rigate, paccheri and pappardelle.
  • The butter is “mounted” on the finished pasta at the end for additional richness and silkiness. If you prefer, you can use butter in place of olive oil at the start of the recipe as well. Or, if you do not want to use butter, just drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the pasta at the end.
 
Recipe by Mangia With Michele. Please visit my site for more great cooking inspiration!
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1 thought on “Artichoke Sausage Pasta with Lemon and Basil

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I made this for my family and we all loved it so much. Will definitely be making again!

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)
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