When everyone in a group of friends decides to order pizza for dinner, there is always one person who suffers in silence. You might be this person. We get it, pizza is tasty and almost the perfect food, but sometimes, especially if you eat a lot of pizza, it just doesn’t cut it. Even worse, the big pizza places that are part of national chains don’t have much on their menus besides pizza. You can only get sides, which are often based on bread and are close to pizza, and sometimes wings.
Well, you don’t have to anymore because Pizza Hut is adding an entire baked pasta menu. This gives people who are hungry a choice that is filling enough to be a meal on its own, which is great for those rare nights when pizza seems boring. Pizza Huts all over the country will have Chicken Alfredo, Veggie, Cheesy Alfredo, and Italian Meats for a limited time. No one knows how limited, though.
Each order comes with either an entire order of breadsticks or garlic bread. If you can’t decide between pizza and pasta, ordering pasta lets you have both. We tried all four kinds of pasta and ranked them from least important to most important. Here is the verdict, starting with the worst of the four.
Oven Baked Pasta — Veggie
Notes on Taste:
I love veggie pizza. It’s fresh, smells good, tastes good, and feels great in your mouth. This dish tries to make baked pasta taste like that magic, but it falls short. This baked pasta has green peppers, onions, diced tomatoes, black olives, and tomato sauce on top of penne pasta that has been covered in a layer of crispy cheese that has been baked in the oven.
All of that sounds great, but the veggies don’t stand out like they do on Pizza Hut’s veggie pizza, which is basically the same thing. You can’t really taste it because it has a lot of different tastes that don’t go well together. A lot of that has to do with Pizza Hut’s “sweet tomato” sauce, which doesn’t really taste like either of those words.
The sauce is bland, and it makes it hard to taste the vegetables. Only that layer of melted parmesan and a lot of dried oregano give it any real flavor.
It’s a baked pasta dish that tastes like a vegetable pizza, but it doesn’t really work. The tastes here never come together in a way that makes you happy.
Oven Baked Pasta — Cheesy Alfredo
Notes on Taste:
The Oven Baked Cheesy Alfredo from Pizza Hut has two layers of baked parmesan and oregano on top of a bed of alfredo-sauced penne pasta. This pasta isn’t very exciting, but the sauce has some flavor, so I like it better than the Veggie, even though it seems bland.
To put it another way, the alfredo sauce is not very good. But it’s not too chunky or garlicky like most jarred alfredo, so it was better than I expected. It’s creamy and cheesy, but there’s not much of it for how many noodles there are. Even though alfredo should be simple, this one isn’t so simple that it’s driven by the ingredients (you don’t taste some amazing 24-month-old parmesan or hand-pulled noodles), so it needs something, anything, to make it more interesting.
If you add spinach and mushrooms to this, you’ll have a good little plate of pasta.
When you add a few things, you have a good pasta dish. It’s a little boring as it is, but it’s still better than the Veggie.
Oven Baked Pasta — Italian Meats
Notes on Taste:
The problem I had with the Veggie pasta is fixed by the Italian Meats pasta. Here, the flavors go together much better. Herb-flavored sausage and spicy pepperoni give this dish a much-needed meaty savoriness that wakes up the tomato sauce. You can really taste how sweet this place is.
Pepperoni, Italian sausage, and oven-baked cheese are on top of penne pasta with tomato sauce. This dish should have rotini or maybe even orecchiette instead of penne. Like the Cheesy Alfredo, this dish needs a few more ingredients to be a lot better. If you add some onions or bell peppers, the dish will taste and look a lot better.
Much better than the Veggie pasta, which has the same sweet tomato sauce. If you don’t care about being vegetarian, putting these two dishes together would make them both better.
Oven Baked Pasta — Chicken Alfredo
Notes on Taste:
We don’t even make Chicken Alfredo right, so it hurts me to put it first, but it’s the only one that doesn’t taste like it needs extra ingredients to be good. Still, more meat, spinach, or vegetables would make it better, so don’t be afraid to add more to make it more interesting.
This dish from The Hut is pretty straightforward. It’s just penne covered in alfredo sauce with chicken and a thick layer of toasted cheese. The best way to use that cheese is to work it into the pasta itself, mixing it into the sauce and giving each bite a crispy, nutty taste of parmesan.
The creamy sauce has just a hint of garlic, which goes well with the oregano on top, and the bites of white meat chicken are surprisingly tender and flavorful. The Hut puts too much cheese on the pizza and not enough sauce, which throws off the balance a little bit.
Even though it’s the best of Pizza Hut’s baked pasta dishes, you could still make it better by adding more ingredients to make it more filling. Even a few red pepper flakes would go a long way toward making this something really good and worth ordering when you don’t want the Hut’s deep dish.
Find the Pizza Hut near you here.