Death by Pasta!

Bigger than it looks!

Ever in search of anything even remotely resembling authentic Italian cuisine (which is tough to do this side of the Atlantic), this Saturday evening found me at local favorite Garozzo’s Ristorante (the “ristorante” right there in the name let’s you know that they are not messing around).  I had been there once before, but it was years ago, and I was ready to give it another try.

The setting was pretty elegant, the menu reasonably expensive, the clientele bedecked in that wealthy-casual way that is so popular around here (golf shirts and shorts with pleats and expensive-looking leather sandals) (oh, and golf tans, of course).

I opened up the menu, and there were several tempting options, but I found myself coming back to a dish suggestively named “Three Way Pasta.”  I like variety, and the menu said it came with ravioli, spaghetti, and mastacioli.  It sounded like a winner.  It also said it came with melted cheese, and “your choice of meatball or Italian sausage” on top.  How could any of that be wrong?

The server came back, and asked “are you ready?”

“Yes, I think we are.”

“What will you have, sir?”

“I will have the…um…Three Way [ahem] Pasta.”  (Awkward).

“Have you ever had that before?” she asked, smiling.

“No, I haven’t” I said, blushing now, not sure if we were still talking about pasta.

“Well, it’s really big.  Like you will have leftovers for a month.  Some people have complained,” she said.

Now I was insulted.  Admittedly, I don’t look like an NFL lineman, but I also don’t look like a guy that would be intimidated by a somewhat large plate of food.  I was now more convinced than ever that I wanted the Three Way.

Salads came, and bread (both a big mistake, as it turned out).  I thought about my choice.

About ten minutes later, our food was delivered.  And OH-MY-GOSH!  If anything, the waitress had undersold the leviathan proportions of my dish.  I was picturing a little bit of spaghetti in one corner of the plate, a little bit of ravioli in another, and a little bit of mastacioli somewhere else.  Oh no.  Here were full and mammoth servings of each, all mixed together, swimming in sauce, and smothered in what looked to be an entire wheel of mozzarella cheese.  And it was served, not so much on a plate, as in this massive bowl (see picture above (which seems smaller than it was in person; to give you some perspective, I think that’s a pizza pan dwarfed in the background)).  I actually opted for the meatball (not pictured above), but it was about the size of a softball.  Had I opted for the sausage (seen above), I think I would have just fled in terror.

I put up a brave fight, eating absolutely as much as I could.  I didn’t even make a dent.  They had a hard time finding a container big enough to hold my leftovers.  We decided to walk around a little afterwards, and I carried the leftovers.  I swear they weighed 25 pounds.

Eventually we got home, and I put the bag in the fridge.  I ate a full plate the next day for lunch.  Brought a full Tupperware container to work on Monday.  Fed some of it to all three of my kids for dinner that night.  Finally conceded defeat and ended up throwing at least half of it (including most of the mysterious meatball) away.

I don’t know if even this post is adequately conveying how massive it was.  It was seriously like one of those Man vs. Food eating challenges.  I could not hang.  If any of you are ever in town and up for it, dinner’s on me.



17 thoughts on “Death by Pasta!

    • Hard to say. The quantity was really overwhelming.

      Also, there is good as in “authentic” and good as in “okay as American-Italian goes.” Overall, I would give it “fair.”

      The meatball kind of scared me too much to really enjoy any of it.

  1. Very charming post. Man vs. Food is crazy. Had to get in the name of the dish? 😉

    We’re rather fortunate to get fairly authentic ethnic food around these parts. For Italian, I go home.

    • THANKS!

      As for the name, I am just trying to engage my reader with as much attention to detail as possible.

      I’m jealous. What’s your favorite ethnic food?

      If by “home” you mean Italy, I am going to freak out. If you just mean your chef makes good Italian food, I will still be quite jealous, but the freaking will be kept to a minimum.

      • I LOVE good food…love to eat. Aside from “real” Italian, my favorites are Thai (love all asian food, though) and Indian, spicy though. You?

        My family is Italian so I just call up my mom and ask her to make something because I’m heading over. Lots of good Italian restaurants in Chicago. IMO, there’s no better Italian food than in Rome.

        • Like you, I love all good food. I like Thai food, and Chinese food. I have less experience with Indian food, but like what I have had.

          My favorite of all time is Italian but, having spent some time over there, the Olive Garden-fare you get over here is NOT cutting it.

          Best Italian food’s in Rome, huh? It’s like you’re reading my mind. But I had some great food, especially pizza, a little farther south. I will still eat pizza however I can find it, but you can’t beat Italy for good food.

          You make Chicago sound intriguing, though.

          • My deserted island food would be pizza, hands down! Yep, Rome gets my vote when compared to the rest of the country… based on where I’ve been. (Actually wrote about Rome recently but it was about my morning cappuccinos). Spent some time on the Amalfi Coast in September and it was glorious. Pizza for lunch with a glass of wine was delightful!

            You’ve never been to Chicago?

  2. Pizza for me, too. Thin-crust pizza with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. Some fresh basil. Forget about it!!!

    I’ll have to read your Rome post. I have spent some time there.

    Amalfi is to die for; if I could drop everything and go on vacation right now, to anywhere in the world, that is where you would find me!

    I know, it borders on criminal, but I have never been to Chicago. Just about everywhere else, but not there. Yet.

    I’ll get there some day; don’t judge me.

    • Have to stop the pizza talk. I’m starving.

      I went for 12 days with 8 friends to the AC and Capri (in and out of Rome). One friend, a photographer, took 1,200 pictures…truly stunning. Views from Path of the Gods were amazing. Very romantic place.

      I never judge anyone for anything.

      • Never? Anyone? Anything? Hmmm….

        (I lived in Rome for 3 years, and then in around Milan for another year and a half. Rome is my favorite place in the world!)

  3. It takes a tremendous amount of effort but no. Anyone currently in my life is spared my judgement and hopefully that’s returned.

    You lucky dog! If I had unlimited discretionary funds, I would own an apartment there.

    • I’m sure it’s returned, if it’s needed at all. You seem like a very sweet person, and I doubt you give people many reasons to condemn you. For me, too, the more time goes by, the more I realize I don’t have any right to judge anyone for anything.

      Totally a lucky dog! Do it! I will then use my own unlimited discretionary funds, fly over there, and give you a guided tour of all Rome’s lesser-known wonders. And I even speak Italian, so we will be in great shape. Viva l’Italia!

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