I tried the Pasta Chip Trend so that you don’t have to..
Viral food trends—they either tingle the taste buds just right or leave you disappointed in the millions of people who subconsciously pushed you toward a pathetic and unpalatable snack.
Like that four-section tortilla fold trend that was taking a world tour on TikTok over the summer. Simple, efficient, effective.
While I can whole-heartedly say I’ve tried my hand at a fair share of viral recipes and to my surprise, managed to finish every bite of them, I was let down recently.
When I say let down, this wasn’t a detrimental blow, but rather a bland and boring realization. One that most would assume when this viral recipe is pitched to them, but alas, I like to challenge the status quo of those who think they’re smarter snackers than I.
So I took to the grocery store and snatched up the ingredients for this viral bite so I could decide for myself what the hype is all about.
What are we snacking on, you may ask? Pasta Chips.
Did you say pasta chips?
Yes, Pasta Chips.
This sensationalized snack hit the explorer pages of Instagram and TikTok hard in the spring of 2021 and found footing deep in the feeds of food porn lovers and snack savants across the world. As of posting this, the #pastachip has over 994 million views on TikTok alone.
I felt like I had seen something like this before, then I remembered...
When I was in college, I took my girlfriend to our local Olive Garden, where to my shock, they were serving up Loaded Pasta Chips in honor of the SuperBowl. My initial instinct was to cast judgment, knowing my Italian grandparents would scour at the sight of uncooked pasta getting fried in a pan and calling them “Italian Nachos”.
As such, I stayed far away from the sinful and scary-looking dish that had restaurant regulars clapping like their team actually won the SuperBowl. Nonetheless, that was the only time I ever saw Pasta Chips being served on a menu to customers.
So I did some research to see if there were any other establishments slinging this snack and found something rather interesting.
There’s one chain scattered around the south that’s been serving this combo up long before foodies were flocking to TikTok for random recipes. They’re called Copelands and they’ve been dishing out a Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bowtie Pasta for over 10 years.
I’ll be straightforward, their appetizer looks elite compared to that of Olive Garden. Copelands looks like mom took her sweet time individually frying each piece of bowtie pasta to golden brown before plating it perfectly around a swimming pool of steamy spin dip.
Olive Garden on the other hand looks like, well, let’s just say Olive Garden.
Now don’t get it twisted, I have had my fair share of fried Italian dishes, especially fried ravioli—a classic Italian app combined with the most American thing you can do to anything, deep fry it.
This was a staple at family reunions in my childhood and to this day holds a special place in my snacking memories, as I can still see my nonna hand frying each ravioli until it was toasted to perfection and sneaking me a few before it was ready (yes, I’ve always been a sneaky snacker).
With my deep despise for this recipe growing, I decided to tackle it once and for all so I could decide for myself whether this snack was a worthy companion for my taste buds.
The Perfect Pasta Chip Recipe...
I went with the original recipe shared by bostonfoodgram, and the approach is rather simple…
- Boil pasta in salted water (this is how real Italians do it).
- Strain and coat in olive oil (don’t buy the cheap stuff, live a little and get some quality oil).
- Toss in parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and pepper (duhhh).
- Throw in the air fryer for 5-7 minutes and watch them come like crispy baked noods that just spent a day on the beaches of Amalfi.
For those of you who are visual learners, you can watch my lackluster attempt at making a TikTok of this recipe right here.
Now if you look closely, you’ll notice a few things…
First—like many other people, keep a random assortment of noodles on hand. In this adventure, I thought it would be worth mixing the iconic penne noodle with something a little more progressive, hence my rotini selection. I figured this would capture more of the seasonings in all the little cracks.
Second—I refrained from putting the parmesan on the chips until post-fry. Why, may you ask? My first batch (yes this took 3 attempts) had the parm on top and it came out burnt to a crisp and not like the edges of lasagna that we all love. So, if you’re going to make these, I’d recommend setting the parmesan aside and sprinkling it atop your snack when it is finished.
After dirtying up a slew of different pans, appliances, and seasonings (seriously, this is the most annoying part of the entire recipe) I was ready to finally fill my face with some overcooked carbs dipped in sauce.
The Pasta Chip Review...
I’ll be honest, these are so mundane you mine as well make regular pasta.
Yes, there’s something enticing about treating a traditionally plated dish like a finger snack, but reality says otherwise.
For every one crunchy and crispy nood you pick up, there’s 10 that fall flaccid. While you try to use some sauce to spice up the flavor, it only coats the small portions your hand isn’t already covering as you go for a dip. And not to mention, eating these feels like you’re busting down a bag of chips, but the fact of the matter is that it has almost double the carbs of any standard snack.
So what if the first five taste great, the rest are going to be mediocre at best and you’ll only feel worse (mostly your stomach) the more you eat them. Trust me, these sat in my pantry for 4 days untouched after this experiment, until I heaved them into the dumpster.
Final Pasta Chip Remarks…
Pasta is a perfect dish on its own (there’s no debating this) and doing anything other than the standard practice is silly if you’re expecting it to beat the original. If you’re going to snack on something, make it worth your while and stay away from pasta chips.
Get yourself a big old bowl of pasta, cover it in sauce, and stuff your face full because that’s what every good Italian would tell you what to do.
If you’re looking for some crunch factor, but not a fan of all the added calories and carbs, grab a free bag of Bean Thinkin right here and see for yourself what the smartest snack in the world tastes like.
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