The Pastas

How Much More Real Italian Can You Get?!

How Much More Real Italian Can You Get?!
Tri Colored Vegetable Penne covered in Pesto Alfredo
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I mean, look at this thing! It's basically an Italian flag on a plate! (DISCLAIMER: I am an American, and thus have never actually seen an Italian flag).

AND It was served to me by a guy with dark hair who didn't speak great English and who probably resented me at least a little! Mama mia, people, if this isn't Italy, I don't want to know what is.

Pictured here is How Much More Real Italian Can You Get?!, and I mean, c'monnnnn!

Ariel's Feast

Ariel's Feast
Asiago Garlic Alfredo gently swaddled in a bundle of Rigatoni, mixed with Shrimp Fritta
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Look at this meal, treasures untold
How many fritta can one pasta hold?
Looking around here you'd think -
Sure, she's got everything

Pictured here is Ariel's Feast, and you're just deluding yourself if you think she, as queen of the sea, didn't ritualistically eat her subjects from time to time.

Are You Alfredof The Dark

Are You Alfredof The Dark
Italian Sausage nigh-erotically saturated in Pesto Alfredo, sheltered within a fistful of Gluten Free Rotini
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There's something mildly spooky, yet also very 90's, about this pasta, though I can't put my finger on it. Is it the way the shriveled sausage looks almost like a decaying mummy hand? Or perhaps the fact that the indigestion it's causing me even as I type this out is coming from inside the house (so to speak)!??!!?

Pictured here is Are You Alfredof The Dark - a pun so great I couldn't wait for Halloween to use it.

Tony's Choice

Tony's Choice
Rigatoni expertly sauced with Chicken Pomodoro
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Rigatoni (Italian for "Rigid Tony", named after its rheumatic chef creator, 'Rigid' Tony Palazza) pasta is a fine addition to the Neverending Pasta Bowl. It's sturdy, holds sauce well, and can withstand overcooking a little past al dente, as Olive Garden's pasta tends to be. I don't have anything funny to say about this dish - it's just good food.

Pictured here is Tony's Choice - a solid option all around!

Vegetarian Option

Vegetarian Option
Asiago Garlic Alfredo placed upon a ball the size of a chihuahua's head of Tri Colored Vegetable Penne
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While it's true that a vegetarian diet is generally less fattening than the alternative, it's easy to forget that alfredo sauces easily double all but the most Italian Sausage of meat toppings in terms of pure calories. Likewise, just because a noodle is colored green or pink doesn't mean it's good for you.

Pictured here is Vegetarian Option - though it may not be healthier, it's definitely got 100% of your daily dose of Vitamin Smug!

Applebee's Nachos

Applebee's Nachos
Pesto Alfredo wrapped in a hill of Rigatoni, studded with Shrimp Fritta
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I don't do a lot of talking about other family-style midrange themed chain restaurants, but the disastrous topping/sauce/base ratios and overall presentation of this dish really screamed "Applebee's Nachos" to me. Much like said nachos, the food is not distributed in a way that is conducive to easy consumption. A good portion of your noodles will be dry and unloved on the edge of the dish, and will require nursing back to edibility with several coats of sauce. If you want pesto, you're going to have to make a special trip out to the Pestosphere™ deep within the center of the plate. Et cetera.

Pictured here is Applebee's Nachos - a registered trademark of Yum! Foods.

Not What I Ordered

Not What I Ordered
Chicken Pomodoro refreshingly hidden in a baseless basin of Rigatoni, incorporated with Chicken Fritta
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I specifically asked for shrimp fritta on this pasta, not chicken. However, due to the fact that I had not yet reviewed this particular pasta combination, and that I am meek to the point of simpering, I just ate this without complaint. It's still pretty good!

I mean, not as good as what I actually ordered would've been, but I can hardly hold that against the pasta.

Pictured here is Not What I Ordered - sometimes, happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.

Ganges

Ganges
Italian Sausage impressively balanced with Tri Colored Vegetable Penne, swimming in Chicken Pomodoro
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This pasta is simultaneously sacred and kind of disgusting. What vile human pollution has profaned this holy dish?!

What's really tragic is that this is the future of all meals - unless things change, people. Unless things change.

Pictured here is Ganges; I wouldn't bathe in it, that's for sure.

Diffuse Natural Light

Diffuse Natural Light
Rigatoni bursting with Italian Sausage, tossed with Pesto Alfredo
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I know that my photographs of Olive Garden's food make it look like I don't know what I'm doing, but rest assured that I'm acutely aware of how bad most of the pictures end up looking. Like all wannabes and idiots, I place the blame for this squarely on factors outside my control: chief among them, the lighting in most Olive Gardens, which is a dull, low yellow. It promotes a relaxing atmosphere, but makes all your pictures look like they were taken with the new Instagram 'Cloudy Urine' filter.

Pictured here is Diffuse Natural Light, which highlights how good even Italian Sausage can look in the right conditions.

A Really Bad Thing To Order If You're On A Date

A Really Bad Thing To Order If You're On A Date
Asiago Garlic Alfredo set upon a bottomless bowl of Gluten Free Rotini, heaped with Italian Sausage
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A Really Bad Thing To Order If You're On A Date is composed entirely out of ingredients that will give you bad breath, general lethargy, and a condition I've come to know as the "Garden Sweats". As the name suggests, I don't recommend it for first, second, or any following dates.

Pictured here is A Really Bad Thing To Order If You're On A Date, and I wish I had taken my own advice!

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
Mezzaluna Ravioli blended with Chicken Pomodoro, united at last with Italian Sausage
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Well, there's no sense hiding from it anymore. They brought back Italian Sausage in all its grease-packed glory. With over 50% more calories than the closest topping, 41 grams of fat, and a solid four digits of sodium, it's always been a topping for those looking to give their arteries a project to work on for the next twenty years.

Why they brought it back this year is entirely beyond me. It looks gross, it tastes gross, and it's cartoonishly unhealthy. That said, I have eleven more dishes containing it to eat, so I'll try to limit my complaints about it as best I can this year.

Pictured here is Hello Darkness, My Old Friend - I've come to dine with it again

Alice Cooper's 'Rooster'

Alice Cooper's 'Rooster'
Chicken Fritta intriguingly smeared with Chicken Pomodoro, crossbred with Gluten Free Rotini
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Most people don't really listen to this song and assume it's some weird statement about Vietnam or something. Actually, it's literally about chicken fritta - the lines about machine gun men are an extended metaphor for the breading process.

Pictured here is Alice Cooper's 'Rooster' - you know he ain't gonna fry!

Pasta Combination Selector