Young, tender artichokes are braised here in a sauce of sweet onions and sweet fennel sausages. The artichokes are eaten with the braising sauce, and crusty rolls help sop up every last, lovely bit of the sausages and onion sauce. If desired, use turkey Italian sausage, or as I prefer to do, use a combination of turkey and the traditional pork Italian sausages.
Fill a bowl large enough to hold the artichokes with water. Squeeze one of the lemon quarters into the water, then drop it into the water as well.
Trim the artichokes, peeling the tough part off the stem. As you finish trimming each artichoke, place it in the acidulated water while you continue with the rest. Cut the artichokes in half, rubbing the cut surfaces with another of the lemon quarters. Remove the choke. Return the artichoke halves to the bowl of acidulated water until ready to use.
Remove the casings from the sausage.
In a nonreactive pot large enough to hold the artichokes, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausages and brown until the meat begins to crumble into large chunks. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, then add the garlic, fennel seeds and sugar. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to turn brown and caramelize on the edges.
Pour the beef stock and squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half into the pot. Bring it to a boil, then add the artichokes, arranging them on top of the mixture. Cover and simmer on low until the artichokes are cooked, about 30 minutes.
Remove the artichokes from the pan. Raise the heat to reduce the sauce to a thin gravy, or to about 1 cup.
To serve, spoon the sausage mixture with plenty of the onion sauce into the center of a plate. Dust the surface with the Asiago. Top with chopped parsley and freshly grated pepper. Arrange the artichokes around the sides. Let your guests dip the the artichokes into the sausages and onion sauce, and serve the crusty rolls on the side.
©1994, Katherine Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007
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