Doused in a rich, thick, absurdly creamy sauce flecked with hunks of artichoke hearts and strands of wilted spinach, and baked until just golden brown with sprinkles of mozzarella on top, Artichoke Basille's namesake pie is the most decadent combination of carbs and dairy I have ever come across. It was a glorious case of love at first bite. And ever since we met, it's been my go-to late-night snack.
But since a trip to one of their locations isn't always in the cards, I decided to make this pasta to satisfy any strong and sudden cravings for a slice. I flipped through my taste memories (and texted my best friend, Julian, who is also an Artichoke Basille's disciple) and assembled a lineup of ingredients—milk, cream, cream cheese, mozzarella, garlic and onion powder, canned artichokes, spinach, and basil—that had to at least be close to what they use in the real thing. To get that essential bready element in there, I grabbed a loaf of fluffy focaccia to bake on top.
Using Martha Stewart's Genius-approved macaroni and cheese as a model, I made a luscious cheese sauce (cream cheese included) and started adding dashes of onion powder, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes by the half-teaspoon until it tasted, well, delicious. Then, I dumped in the artichoke hearts (plus a splash of their juices, for tang), some grilled chicken I had leftover for heft (as if it needed any), and mixed in the spinach, basil, and penne rigate.
Is this a perfect replica? Of course not. But it has everything I love about the original pizza—a velvety and flavorful sauce with just a tiny bit of bite from the artichokes and red pepper, the melty mozzarella, and the crispy focaccia (which offers the illusion of crust without having to make a dough from scratch). The best part: I don't have to leave the house, or even wait in line. —Erin Alexander
Featured in: A Lusciously Cheesy Artichoke Pasta Inspired by My Favorite Midnight Snack. —The Editors