You Should Never Order Fettuccine Alfredo At Olive Garden. Here's Why

We get it. Sometimes you want a simple, steaming plate of cheesy carbs. Who doesn't want that? And when a box of sunshine-yellow macaroni and cheese won't do, we certainly don't blame you for turning to fettuccine Alfredo.

The quasi-Italian dish was likely invented in Rome by a restaurateur serving his pregnant wife, but it's made major waves in the United States. The thick, buttery sauce, seasoned with garlic and Romano cheese, has spent years sneaking its way into pizzas, soups, and cheesy casseroles (via Taste of Home).

And what simpler way is there to enjoy Alfredo than at Olive Garden, engulfed in a cloud of parmesan-scented bliss?

But allegedly, some all-knowing Olive Garden employees beg to differ. In a pretty spicy Reddit thread, a user strongly cautioned against ordering the dish at Olive Garden. Why? "It's a ripoff," the user wrote. "It takes 20 seconds to make the dish. Servers purposely wait to send orders to the kitchen just to make it seem more authentic. Save $15 and make it yourself at home."

The temptation of Alfredo

Our Reddit user's got a point. The beloved Alfredo dish can be pricey, usually ranging from 13 to 17 dollars, depending on where you order it. At Olive Garden's Time Square location, an order of fettuccine Alfredo clocks in at $19.49 — and that's before you decide to add chicken or shrimp. All for a plate of pasta, cream, and cheese? No veggies, no protein, and the dish doesn't even take much effort to prepare?


At the same time, we've got to give the pseudo-Italian chain some credit: Olive Garden has certainly gotten creative with the signature sauce. You can order it tossed with grilled chicken or sautéed scallops. You can eat it with a sirloin steak. You can dip breadsticks into it, if that's what you're into. Olive Garden even got weird with it and crafted a pizza-crust bread bowl that could hold a heaping of Alfredo sauce and grilled chicken, according to Delish. And apparently, in July, the chain announced that staff will be adding more Alfredo sauce to dishes. What cold-hearted Alfredo enthusiast could resist so many options?

Breaking the rules of pasta

Then again, Olive Garden has faced some harsh criticism when it comes to the chain's pasta dishes. Olive Garden certainly isn't a true facet of Italian cuisine — let's not forget that fettuccine Alfredo is almost impossible to come by in Rome or Naples. At the same time, we've got standards, and Olive Garden doesn't always fulfill our simplest expectations.

Sure, Olive Garden is not based in a whimsical Tuscan villa, but the chain could at least salt the pasta water. Citing the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider reports that Olive Garden's staff has spent years not doing so, in an attempt to make the pots last longer. What? Salty water is the most basic and essential rule of good pasta.

And if you've ever found your fettuccine Alfredo to be a little, ahem, doughy, you're not imagining it. Olive Garden does not cook its pasta al dente, or firm. Instead, the chain deliberately allows the pasta to cook until it's soft and soggy, to please customers, according to Eater. It's a pasta crime for everyone: Not only is al dente pasta healthier, it's a lot closer to what you'd eat in Italy (via U.S. News).

DIY Alfredo

The good news definitely outweighs the bad: making the same dish at home really doesn't take much time. And, there are enough copycat recipes of the iconic Olive Garden dish to help you along. In fact, there are tons of recipes out on the glorious internet, attempting to emulate the restaurant's signature dish. It's almost creepy, but also exciting.

The sauce is fairly simple: it's a gentle mixture of butter, minced garlic, flour, cream, Romano, and Parmesan. (Please, opt for fresh garlic, and not powder. It's worth it.) Whisking together the ingredients, without letting them boil too harshly, will produce the smooth, rich sauce you were craving all along. If you really want to get restaurant-grade fancy, add some chopped parsley as a garnish. Or grab some basil and red pepper flakes. You'll feel amazing.

Now that you've mastered the dish you've been yearning for, you can customize and perfect your recipe. Add some spicy cajun seasoning and sausage to bulk up your Alfredo (via Tasty). Or caramelize some sliced lemons and throw some zest into the sauce for a fragrant, summery vibe (via The Kitchn). The possibilities are endless, and you'll be thrilled you didn't break the bank for one plate of soft pasta.