Pizza Hut Pasta: What To Know Before Ordering

Fast food restaurants are constantly introducing new, delicious items for customers to indulge in, and Pizza Hut is no different. The chain's menu was once relatively simple, featuring nothing more than two sizes of pizza and only seven different topping options when brother duo Dan and Frank Carney first opened up shop in 1958. Now more than 60 years later, the menu at the famous red-roofed chain boasts an extensive list of pizza toppings that includes eight different types of meat, seven veggies, and one fruit-that-shall-not-be-named, as well as limited-time specialties like the insanely popular Detroit-style pizza.

Along with expanding their 'za offerings, Pizza Hut has introduced a few other delectable treats over the years, like breadsticks and chicken wings, and has even ventured into the world of pasta. If you're looking to elevate your weekly pizza night into an all-out affair of Italian cuisine, here's everything you'll need to know about the chain's delicious pasta dishes before placing your next order.

When did Pizza Hut start serving pasta?

Pizza Hut's initial venture into the pasta world happened during the time of disco music and bell-bottom pants. The cavatini pasta, as In The 70s describes, was made with rotelle-shaped pasta that "oozed with sauce and cheese." This baked pasta dish was, sadly, short-lived (though we have a great copycat recipe for you to try if you're missing the tasty treat).

The Hut's next attempt at pasta wouldn't come until 2008, when it introduced its Tuscani Pastas to the menu. To say they were confident in the additions would be a bit of an understatement. According to QSR Magazine, the chain went as far as changing its name to Pasta Hut to build up the hype around its noodle dishes that were offered in the "chef-inspired styles" of Creamy Chicken Alfredo and Meaty Marinara and were sold in three-pound batches. As you probably know, the new moniker didn't stick, but the duo of dishes behind the restaurant's temporary alias did. Per Nation's Restaurant News, the Tuscani Pastas were one of Pizza Hut's most successful product launches, bringing in more than $24 million in sales during April 2008 alone and earning them a permanent spot on the menu that they still hold today.

What kinds of pasta are on Pizza Hut's menu today?

The immediate success of Pizza Hut's Tuscani Pastas led the chain to expand its offerings to include two more flavors: Bacon Mac n' Cheese and Tuscani Lasagna (via Pizza Marketplace). However, neither of them ended up securing a permanent spot on the menu alongside the original Creamy Chicken Alfredo and Meaty Marinara flavors that are still available today. Both varieties are oven-baked and feature rotini pasta and a "delicious blend of sauce and cheese," per QSR Magazine

All of these pastas, former CMO Brian Niccol explained to ABC News in 2008, were sent to frozen to stores and were to be thawed for use. More detailed descriptions on the Pizza Hut website reveal that the Tuscani Chicken Alfredo Pasta includes grilled chicken, creamy alfredo sauce, and layers of cheese while the Meaty Marinara is a "classic Italian-seasoned meat sauce pasta topped with cheese."

The biggest difference between the original versions of Pizza Hut's Tuscani Pastas and the ones that are sold today are the sizes that they come in. While the restaurant initially offered both in a single, bulk size that ABC News said was enough to feed a family of six, they're now offered in two different serving sizes meant for either two or four people.

How do Pizza Hut's Tuscani Pastas taste?

Pizza Hut is obviously best known for its various pies, so you may be curious about how their pasta dishes hold up. The fact that the chain's Tuscani Pastas have been cemented on the menu for nearly 15 years sure makes them sound impressive, but in reality, there are mixed reviews around the dishes. One disgruntled customer said on Twitter that pasta from The Hut was "not even good yo, not even OK," whereas another Twitter user found the meal to be "pretty good for the price," and awarded it a respectable eight out of 10. One Redditor also reminded us that Pizza Hut is a franchise, so while you may have a bad experience ordering pasta from one location, another may serve up some of the best you've ever had.

As for which Tuscani Pasta is the best out of the two flavors offered at restaurant, we here at Mashed found the Creamy Alfredo Pasta to be far more superior than not only the Meaty Marinara flavor but most other menu items at The Hut as well. If you don't want to take our word for it, consider the fact that a number of New Yorkers were fooled into thinking the meal came from an upscale restaurant in a 2008 commercial for the dish.

How much do they cost?

As with most pizza joints, Pizza Hut has some great deals. The chain has a number of coupons on their website like the $5 'N Up Lineup or Big Dinner Box that will allow you to get one of their Tuscani Pastas and a pie or two at an incredibly fair price.

No need to worry about breaking the bank on the nights you find yourself only wanting to indulge in one of Pizza Hut's noodle dishes either. While prices do vary a bit by location, The Food XP reports that you can expect to pay around $7.99 for a single pan of either the Chicken Alfredo or Meaty Marinara Pastas, which is marketed as a big enough serving for two people. Upgrading that to the family size option — which will score you two pans of pasta that are said to be enough to feed four — is a pretty sweet deal as well, averaging at a price of only $13.99. 

Oh, and did we mention that each order of pasta no matter the size also comes with five of Pizza Hut's craveable breadsticks (or cheese sticks for a small upcharge of one dollar)? Because they do. Considering that The Hut's breadsticks ring in at an average price of $5.49 per order, it's safe to say that a Tuscani Pasta from the chain is a great option for both your stomach and your wallet.

Are Pizza Hut's Tuscani Pastas nutritious?

At this point, you might be thinking that Pizza Hut's Tuscani Pastas are an all-around great meal, as they not only taste decent but also won't break the bank. But, alas, with every positive there is a negative, and when it comes to the chain's noodle dishes, their nutritional values are their downfall. 

Per Pizza Hut, a single pan of the Tuscani Meaty Marinara Pasta contains 880 calories and 40 grams of fat while the Creamy Alfredo contains a whopping 990 calories and 57 grams of fat. Considering each pan is meant to serve two people, that brings a single serving of each to 440 and 495 calories, respectively, which isn't too off-putting, but when eating it alongside breadsticks, pizza, or chicken wings, you can kiss your diet goodbye. However, if you do happen to be indulging in a full spread of Pizza Hut fare for lunch or dinner, registered dietician Anita Mirchandani tells Women's Health that the Meaty Marinara is your best bet because "it will be lower in fat than the other pasta options and provides a good source of protein."

We know these numbers may deter you from sampling either one of Pizza Hut's Tuscani Pastas, but as with everything, moderation is key. Don't be afraid to give either of these dishes a try the next time you're picking up a quick dinner from the chain, as they could easily end up being your new favorite takeout meal.