I tried Olive Garden's new 'pasta pancakes,' but the new lasagna menu item looked nothing like its ads
Irene Jiang / Business Insider
- Olive Garden rolled out a build-your-own lasagna called the "Lasagna Mia" on Monday.
- Twitter users have been baffled by the shape of the new lasagna, with some describing it as appearing to look like "pasta pancakes" in the photos advertising the new item.
- I went to the Olive Garden in New York's Times Square to try the new pinwheel-shaped Lasagna Mia and founds its new shape definitely did not work in its favor.
- I still ate most of it, though.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Olive Garden released a build-your-own personal lasagna on Monday called the Lasagna Mia.
It's not the first time the Italian-American megachain has rolled out the Lasagna Mia, which is designed to be a personal, customized serving of lasagna. It had a brief limited run in the summer of 2018 when it took the form of a standard cubic lasagna serving.
This time around, it looks a little different.
Instead of the classic cubic lasagna, Olive Garden has decided to go with a pinwheel design that has drawn some less than enthusiastic reactions from the Twittersphere. Several users described the new Lasagna Mia design as "pasta pancakes," comparing the ribbons of sauce cascading down the sides to maple syrup down a stack of flapjacks.
But make no mistake - no unflattering description of food can keep me from eating it. I had a solemn moral responsibility to give Lasagna Mia a fair trial. It was, as far as I was concerned, pasta until proven a pancake.
I stuffed my Canon 5D camera and a handful of Kirkland Signature lactose pills into my giant inconspicuous handbag and hopped on the train to the Olive Garden in Times Square.
So.... this is a pasta pancake with lasagna type toppings?? Right?- Sam (@MrAverageAtBest) July 30, 2019
Just saw an ad for Olive Garden lasagna that looks like a stack of pasta pancakes and whenever the Italians are ready to kick off the war on Olive Garden I stand in solidarity.- (@upthetwerx) July 29, 2019
The Lasagna Mia comes with a choice of endless soup or endless salad, and of course, all the breadsticks you can fit into your digestive system.
I ordered a Lasagna Mia topped with meat sauce and Ziti Fritta, which are ziti noodles that are stuffed with ricotta, breaded, and deep-fried. Customers can choose from four sauces and six toppings, although only two of those toppings don't carry an extra charge.
Like a Tinder date who used old photos in their profile, the Lasagna Mia looked nothing like I expected.
It looked less like pasta pancakes and more like an indistinguishable pile of sauce and carbs.
I'd ordered the Ziti Fritta topping because I was curious, but I'm not convinced that a pasta dish needs to be topped with more deep-fried pasta.
I had also ordered meat sauce, but I'm still not sure if there was actually meat in this sauce. I couldn't find it. It's possible I was served plain marinara sauce instead.
My first cut revealed that the pinwheel's outer layer of pasta was tough and dry. It was difficult to cut through and even harder to chew.
But the cheese inside the lasagna was pungent and savory. And inside, the layers of pasta were soft and spongy.
The cheese and inner pasta worked well with the sauce, even if I had to reach back out to the outer edges of the plate for my tomato fix.
But ultimately I was put off by how tough and dry the outer layer of pasta was. It was even crunchy in places.
Lasagna shouldn't usually be crunchy.
I was also bothered by the fact that I was never certain of what I was eating at any given moment. Was it cheese? Pasta? Fried ziti?
I didn't really care, though. I still ate most of the lasagna.
I did leave a piece of the outer shell I simply could not cut or chew through.
It wasn't necessarily good lasagna. But at no point did I want to stop eating. I enjoyed both the sauce and the cheese. But I'm not sold on the pinwheel shape, which makes the lasagna more difficult to eat. Maybe the Lasagna Mia would have been more successful in pancake form. Isn't lasagna basically a stack of pasta pancakes anyways?
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