I am pretty certain my 23 and Me Ancestry is wrong. I’m Sicilian – pale, peeling, cancer-prone skin be damned. I mean… how else can you explain my gravitation to – hell, it’s almost an obsession – with Sicily and Sicilian food? The only thing I don’t do is watch The Godfather like it’s home movies.

Tonight’s dinner comes from another of my favorite Sicilians, Nick Stellino. We watch his show on PBS and laugh all the way through it. The guy is a showman, for sure. And a good cook. He’s another person who takes a few simple ingredients and makes them sing – and that’s usually how he is describing things.

It’s my most favorite way of cooking. It’s amazing that the cooking of my youth was moremoremore and how many more flavors can I get into this dish?!? In my dotage, I now appreciate letting ingredients speak for themselves.

And this dish speaks volumes! Nick served this as a side dish – with larger chunks of artichoke. I thought it would make for a great pasta dinner.

I used Martin’s sausage made with white wine, garlic, and lemon. The flavors blended perfectly with the dish! Available at Reading Terminal Market.

I’ve copied the recipe here, because this is one of the free recipes on his website.

Braised Sausage with Artichokes

adapted from Nick Stellino


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced thick
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 6 large artichoke hearts, cleaned and cut into one inch pieces – fresh, preferred, but canned or frozen will work
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, zested in really thin long strips
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1½ pounds sweet Italian sausage, each link cut in half
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1½ cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • Freshly grated Pepatto Cheese
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked and drained


Time your cooking so you have pasta cooked and drained as the dish is finished.

In a large sauté pan set on medium heat, heat the oil until hot. Add the sausages and cook for three minutes browning them on each side. Take the sausages out of the pan.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium low add the garlic, onion and red pepper flakes and cook until the onion is soft, about three minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes, parsley and lemon zest then toss until well coated and cook for two to three minutes.

Increase the heat to high and add the browned sausages and cook for two minutes, stirring well. Now add the wine and cook until it has reduced by a third.

Add the chicken stock and bring it all to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 35-40 minutes until the sausages and artichoke hearts have cooked through.

Turn off the heat and add the softened butter stirring well until it has melted into the sauce.

Mix the sausages and artichoke hearts with the cooked pasta and place into a large serving dish. Top with lots of fresh cheese.

Buon appetito!

Things that stand out about the dish… The lemon zest… Every now and again you get a pop of fresh lemon. It’s really mellow and not at all tart – just lemony. I don’t own a real lemon zester so I just peel with a veg peeler and cut into really thin strips. A real wow.

Another thing is the garlic. Again, noticeable every few bites or so, but sweet and mellow. The butter at the end adds a silky richness – don’t leave it out!

All-in-all, a very successful dinner.

Now to go see what else Nick has up his sleeve…..