Giada’s Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

by Hilary Gauntt on March 18, 2015

You always eagerly anticipate a wedding when you’ve known both the  bride and groom since childhood! That was the case when Stephanie Brown and Nick Gabriel married a few years back.  Nick’s mother Dana happily shared that her sausage loving son made this recipe for Steph for Valentine’s Day when they were dating; and clearly it was a hit. At the moment, neither of them has much time to spend in the kitchen , as their adorable twin babies, James and Emily, have just come home from the hospital.  Arriving ahead of schedule they had some time in the NICU, but now are home and feeding around the clock. Memorable, joyful, and exhausting times….

This is a substantial dish combining meat, veggies, cheese and pasta all in one, making it perfect for a delivery to a hungry family.  Whole wheat pasta works well in this, and frozen artichokes are recommended as they hold their shape in the sauce.  Dana said that her husband Steve who is great about volunteering to do the dishes (he’s done them at my house as a guest!) always seems to disappear after dinner when she makes this…..the cheese tends to stick to the pan.  With that helpful warning, I took the pan off the heat before adding the mozzarella and that problem was solved.

3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced with 2 Tbs. oil reserved

1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed

2 8-ounce packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine


12 ounces penne pasta

1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed (optional)

freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a large, heavy frying pan over a medium-high flame.  Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the sausage to a bowl.  Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat  until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes.  Add the broth, wine and sun-dried tomatoes.  Boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces slightly, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the penne and cook, stirring often to prevent pasta from sticking together, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta (do not rinse).  Add the pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, the basil and parsley to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta.  Stir in the mozzarella, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve, passing additional Parmesan alongside.   Serves 6 as a main course.

Note: Sweet sausage instead of spicy is still delicious, if that’s your preference.  Italian turkey sausage works as well. I think the fresh mozzarella is great, but totally optional…the flavor is there regardless. If you are using canned artichoke hearts instead of frozen, just wait and add them halfway through the reducing of the sauce and they will be fine. This was a big hit in my house!

Emily and James



sausage pasta


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