Barilla Italian Entrees, Spicy Marinara Penne, 9 Ounce

For more than 135 years, Barilla has been committed to making authentic, high-quality pasta for everyone to enjoy. Now with Barilla Italian-Style Entrées, you can savor the taste of 100% Barilla quality for lunch or at any moment. Paired with Barilla pasta, all our Italian-inspired recipes are made with a combination of delicious, 100% Real ingredients. Enjoy the flavorful, easy pasta in no time, ready from the microwave in just 1 minute!

Quick facts

  • Authentic pasta and sauce combination with a kick is preservative free and makes a quick and healthy meal
  • Cooks in 1 minute
  • Sauce is made with vine-ripened tomatoes, garlic and parsley with a touch of crushed red pepper
  • All natural meal on-the-go
  • Product of USA

Top reviews

Barilla Mezze Penne with Spicy Marinara Sauce

Let me start by saying I love Barilla sauces. It’s the only sauce I buy in the jar to use and their marinara in the jar is the best base I’ve ever used. This however was terrible. I was completely disappointed. I heated it as per instructions but needed to heat it another 45 seconds after mixing it up in a microwaveable bowl because it was only just warm. It is not very spicy at all and I could mainly only taste tomatoes. The pasta had a very strange taste to it, not sure how to describe it but I had to make myself finish it. I wanted to throw it out but I’m not a wasteful person so I ate it. There is well under 2 cups total to eat so if you were giving it to a very young child it may be enough but I had to go make my lunch after eating it as I felt like I had nothing to eat and, NO, I am not a big eater. Usually just a sandwich is more than enough for me for a meal. I would not buy this in a store for any price. I feel like I even wasted my electricity by heating it. Glad I got this from vine so it was free or I’d really be mad as this is expensive for what little you get even if it had been good and I’m glad I have already used Barilla products because if this had been my first taste of theirs I would never use anything of theirs.
AndrewFort Pierce, FL

non-diet ‘diet food’

I have been enjoying Healthy Choice healthy mixers but decided to try thisand did not realize that it was already cooked (no need to add water and cook for 3:30 like the healthy mixers. It has 320 calories and 5g of fat and although it is not marketed as ‘diet’ or ‘healthy’ it is inline nutritionally with them. Maybe it is just the shape of the container but it feels like more food too.
I don’t like spicy food per se but this has a tiny kick to it- nothing crazy spicy.
It cooks in 60sec which is awesome too. The pasta may have a slightly more ‘dense’ (not dente)feel to it if that makes sense but really tastes very fresh. Hope amazon stocks these soon! I found them at my local grocery store but was hoping amazon had them in their subscribe & save offerings…
ValLakeville, MN

Awesome, but too expensive here

This is the best-tasting meal of the ones available. Twenty-one buckeroos is too much, though. I have found it at the Wally store at four meals for ten buckeroos.
LeahBanning, CA

Fine for a microwave dinner

The Barilla Mezze Penne with spicy marinara sauce is easy to prepare and tastes better than similar products. The sauce is not as spicy as I expected it to be but does have a flavorful tomato-y taste. The sauce is separate from the pasta and must be combined after cooking.
RenaeHackettstown, NJ

Quick easy dinner

I am on the run all the time. Sometimes I don’t eat dinner real late or even at all. I love the Barrilla Mezze Penne. It was a real quick easy dinner. I even heated a piece of garlic toast with it. It was real simple to make. You pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds and presto. The sauce was very tasty and the noodles were cooked perfect for me. I will definately keep a few of these in my pantry.
ZachariahHinsdale, NH

As good as these things get.

The sauce is tangy and spicy without going overboard. I also love that its separate from the pasta. Usually for these kinds of meals you cook the pasta in the sauce and you get crusty edges on the whole mess. Leaving the sauce and pasta apart seemed to help the consistancy.

The pasta was slightly chewy but I didn’t mind, and the meal was surprisingly filling while still being under 400 calories.

Eating one of these is not exactly the same as going to an Italian restaurant, of course, but if you like these kinds of microwave meals, this is about as good as any that I’ve found.

GertrudeKenney, IL

I like it

I like that the sauce and pasta are separate. I like dunking the pasta in the sauce. The sauce ingredient list is short with sugar being late in the list, which is also good.
CathleenWingo, KY

Much Better Than Expected

I really like how the sauce is seperate from the pasta so you can place it on a plate without making a mess. Taste and appearance where very good. I’d want to add grilled chicken or similar to really make a meal of it.
LakieshaHeathsville, VA

good flavor and texture, but not sure I’d buy it

The good: Prepared according to directions, the pasta is just right (al dente). The sauce in this variety has a nice amount of spice in it; the other variety I tried was bland in comparison.

The not so good: I’m not really sure who is going to pay a relatively premium price for a single serve, shelf-stable pasta dish. I suppose that if you don’t have access to a freezer or your freezer space is limited at work and you want to have an alternative to eating lunch out, this product would suit you. But, quite honestly, I cannot imagine being satisfied with JUST eating this dish by itself since it really is just pasta and marinara sauce with no meat, no chunky vegetables, no cheese, etc. Pretty boring, not incredibly filling, and not as nutritious as it could be.

As I wrote in my review for the other variety I tried, I think it’s wise to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. The lid/film on these trays is glued on quite well, and once the sauce is hot I can imagine it would be quite easy to burn yourself or, at least, find the pasta and sauce flying all over the counter if you attempt to remove the film too quickly.

I almost rated this 4 stars but, in reality, a fair rating would be 3.5 stars. Because I honestly don’t think I’d buy this product, I think rounding down to 3 stars is more fair than rounding up to 4, even though I did like the flavor of this product.

TiannaBaring, WA

Not “hot” spicy!

I’ve bought other brands of this type of meal. I usually like Barilla Pasta so I thought I’d give it a try. I don’t usually like Spicy things but my husband does so I figured if I didn’t like it he’d eat it.
It was super easy and fast to make in the microwave. After it cooled down I slowly took a bite of it (was a little afraid of the “spicy”). I was nicely suprised to see that it wasn’t HOT spicy, I could take another bite. I ate half of the package and it didn’t burn my mouth, it was yummy and had good tomato flavor. I gave the rest to hubby and he liked it also. Unlike me, he does like the HOT spicy so he was a bit disappointed in that aspect of it but he ate the other half of it and said it was “pretty good”. That’s a compliment from him and he’d be willing to try their other varieties and so would I. I’ll have to see what else they have and try some more!
NohemiBallston Lake, NY

Single serving

I was hoping this would serve two but it is really a single serving and you probably need a salad on the side to make a meal. If you only want a quick snack or a light lunch then it suites just fine. I liked the entire concept of sauce in a separate container that you pour on and mix in. (We don’t eat many microwave meals so this was new to me.) I added a little extra water as the instructions advised if you wanted a softer pasta. The sauce has a nice kick to it, but I would not call it spicy. I would definitely purchase this for a quick meal. The price seems right for a pack of 6. (We tried the whole wheat pasta too, but prefer this one.)
SashaSleetmute, AK

Easy to prepare

This dish was extremely easy to prepare, but the film lid stuck to the sauce compartment, which sits loosely inside the main compartment, so I almost burned my fingers. Taste-and-texture-wise it was fine (compared to other ready meals) but the sauce was not spicy, at least not in the “caliente” sense. Very tomatoey though and pleasant enough.
NelsonArco, MN

Quick to prepare and sweet but not spicy

My wife and I tried this out recently. I liked it more than she did, and so I’m averaging our rating to a 4 star.

First off, this is very easy to prepare. Only 1 minute to microwave! (as per the instructions). Our microwave is pretty powerful (about 1500W) and the 1 minute was perfect. You have to peel back a little of the cover to the dotted line before microwaving. And after microwaving, we let it sit for a minute or so.

The penne seemed to be just right in consistency. The sauce is in a separate bowl and you have to mix it all together. My wife’s complaint is mostly about the sauce – that it was too sweet. And she’s right. Also the sauce was definitely not spicy. We added some crushed red peppers, as well as some grated cheese, and it tasted wonderful!

Overall I would buy this again. But I would definitely add more spices and the cheese to make it taste better.

DeniceMartin, OH

Quick, Easy, Tastey, Relatively Cost-Effective, but Not Entirely Cost Effective

Good, healthy meals on the go that don’t taste like cardboard are hard to come by these days. Most “healthy” alternatives, especially the gluten-free type, usually have no flavor or make one cringe when chewing.

Barilla has alleviated much of this problem with their ready-to-go mezze penne microwavable meals. When they say, “ready in less than a minute,” on the box they really meant it. Within two minutes of pulling the packaging out of my cabinet I was ready to scarf it down. The meal takes one minute in the microwave as it has water that prepares the noodles while simultaneously warming up the sauce, which is in an independently sealed pouch. Pretty straight forward similar to Easy Mac.

The meal was somewhat tasty as I love spice and it had some hints of it, however, I found myself putting in some hot sauce just to ‘spice’ things up a bit (you’ll pardon the pun). You could also add you own meat but such preparation would kinda defeat the purpose of the “less than 1-minute” food boast.

My only real gripe is the cost as they’re hardly cost effective. It is considerably cheaper to make you own and you can make them in larger quantities but, such is the problem with ANY quick meals.

All in all, tasty and very easy on the go but the cost needs to come down first in order to truly be practical.

NelidaNew Goshen, IN

Add your own meat

Barilla is making several different microwave meatless pasta dishes. The sauce and the pasta come out very tasty when following the directions on the box. They are handy to take to work for lunch as they do not have to be refridgerated. I don’t care for just meatless pasta so I add an italian sausage or a couple of meatballs and this makes a good lunch or snack.
CodiBald Knob, WV

Quick Tasty Lunch

If you can’t get away from your desk to go out for lunch or down to the cafeteria, this is a quick and easy way to have lunch.

Preparation is stupid simple. Remove the cardboard overwrap, peel back to film a bit, nuke for one minute, peel off the film, dump the sauce onto the pasta, and enjoy.

In my 1100 W microwave, the cook time is just about perfect. The sauce was sufficiently hot and the pasta was cooked through nicely. I like the firmness of the pasta. The sauce has nice chunks of tomato and good flavor. It also has a nice spice kick that’s not so hot that will melt your teeth. I thought the portions of size was sufficient. I would like to see them find a way to add a small packet of grated cheese. That would be a nice addition.

The ingredient list is good, with no preservatives and no artificial flavors. As with all packaged foods the sodium content is a bit high at 29% of the recommended daily allowance. That’s the only drawback there is to this product.

In my area, I can recycle all of the pieces of the packaging except for the protective film. That is a plus in my opinion.

At the time of this writing, these cost approximately $3.37 each, which is in line with Barilla’s suggested retail price of $2.99. Since these are eligible for free Super Saver shipping, you could have the convenience of having them delivered to your front door for free. The way I see it that’s a win all the way around.

I have tried other varieties of this product and found them to be equally good.

Bottom line: While I would probably not eat these everyday, they are tasty, quick, and easy lunch that’s not too hard on the wallet. Several varieties of this will always be in my pantry or the bottom drawer of my desk.

EstherBanner Elk, NC

Amazingly fast & great taste.

It really only took 60 seconds-REALLY! Other noodle dinners I have tried take 3 or more minutes (and then once they’re cooked enough, you have to wait until they cool enough to eat). So if you have a half hour for your lunch hour, this is a great choice. The packaging is really ingenious.

We recently had a Barilla sauce from a jar at home that I thought was a bit bland; but this was good. Tomato and a touch of red-pepper heat.

Also in its favor is the fact that it is all natural. The fewer ingredients, the better & there aren’t a lot here. 320 calories & 29% of the sodium you need in a day (so it’s not perfect…but I’d really rather have the all natural than a chemical cocktail that has fewer calories).

It IS a little expensive. Nearly 6$ per if you purchase here…strangely the Barilla Mezze Penne with Tomato and Basil Sauce is less than 4$…so save money with that one! It’s probably just as good!

KianaDenio, NV

Tastes great, but use care when preparing

This is the first time I’ve tried a microwaveable pasta product, and I found it to be quite good. The sauce was indeed spicy (I love spicy) and the flavor, while not quite as good as something you’d buy in a jar, was better than I expected. I liked the pasta, too. This isn’t something I’d have regularly at home (I’d prefer to just cook pasta) but wouldn’t mind eating regularly at work or some other place. I can see myself stocking up on a few.

However, use extreme care when preparing. I followed the preparation instructions on the package and managed to give myself a first-degree burn. One side of the tray contains a removable sauce cup, the other the pasta. The idea is to peel back the cover a tad (for ventilation), microwave the food, then peel back the cover from the sauce cup and tray and dump the sauce on the pasta. Since the cover is stuck on the sauce cup there is a place to hold the sauce cup with your thumb while removing the cover.

Unfortunately, the cover adheres very well to the sauce cup. When trying to remove the cover my thumb slipped and hot pasta sauce dumped all over my right hand, resulting in a burn. Next time I think I’ll peel back the cover to expose the sauce cup completely, and then put the cover back down and hold it in place with a small microwave-safe bowl while microwaving.

WhitleyJena, LA

Quite decent for microwave pasta

A decent pasta with an average sauce (comparable to jarred). Barilla is my usual pasta, and mezze penne something I always stock at home, so I was curious how their prepackaged meals are.

The very brief (60-seconds) microwaving results in a penne a little softer than my usual al-dente, but surprisingly “normal pasta” despite coming out of a microwave package. The sauce is a generic marinara. Edible but nothing exciting, similar to jarred. If you make your own sauces (which I highly recommend, very easy), this sauce will taste a bit “fake” to you. It has only minor heat despite being labeled “spicy” (although that may be versus sugar-heavy old-fashioned American marinaras), but for us spice-lovers, I added both cayenne and red pepper flakes to get to the preferred level of zing.

The microwave tray is a coated paperboard with a plastic insert for the sauce, so it’s not all plastic (I try to avoid heating food in plastic when possible). The serving is a lightweight 320 calories. At my recommended 2500 calorie daily intake, this would qualify as a snack.

These seem like they’d be expensive per “meal” compared to making pasta yourself, and too low-calorie to be a meal by themselves for most adults. But still handy if you have poor kitchen access, or for brown-bagging to work/school.

Recommended for a “quick pasta meal”.

LowellEdneyville, NC

Quite good for what it is

This is a non-refrigerated, microwaveable meal containing pasta and tomato sauce. The packaging states that it is “All Natural” and contains “No Preservatives.” How Barilla is able to give us tomato sauce in liquid form but without any chemicals to keep it palatable is a mystery to me. The plasticized tray packaging is sealed tightly with a stout film cover, so I guess that’s the key.

The primary ingredient is Mezze Penne pasta which is made with Semolina wheat and Durum flour. The one portion will give you 6 grams of fiber (24% of a 2000-calorie diet). For those of us who have reached the stage of life where fiber intake is critical, this is a wonderful bonus.

This is the second one of these Barilla meals that I’ve tried. I liked the first, but found the Penne a little too tough for my taste, so this time I followed Barilla’s instructions “for softer pasta,” and after cooking, added a teaspoon of water and cooked for another 30 seconds. This helped but, unfortunately, I still found the pasta just a little rubbery. I have an 1100-watt microwave, and found the 1-minute cooking time plus the additional 30 seconds fine.

The rest of the ingredient list yields nothing suspicious other than “Natural Flavors,” and “Tapioca Starch.”

The Tomato sauce is packaged in a separate “Sauce Tray” which fits in the main packaging and is microwaved with it. When heating is complete, you remove the sauce tray and pour it over the pasta. That works fine. Prior to heating, you peel back the film covering over the sauce to vent the package. I had no difficulties with any of this. Just be careful to read the instructions before you do anything.

The package will give you 320 calories with 5g of fat and 700mg of sodium. The sodium is high (29%) as it is in virtually all pre-packaged meals. It seems the manufacturers have learned how to control all the nutrients–calories, fat, cholesterol, carbs, everything–except salt.

I don’t think I’d go out of my way to eat this, but for what it is–an ultrasimple, convenient, quick meal that you could stick in your briefcase or backpack on the way out to work or school–it was pretty good. The Arrabbiata sauce was quite tasty. If you don’t have access to a cafeteria and don’t want something from the deli or the take-out or fast-food places, this is definitely a good alternative.

I just need to say a word about price: I never base my ratings on price, because that can change with time and retailer and sales, but DO NOT pay 40 bucks for 6 of these shipped. That’s just plain nuts. At two or three dollars apiece, they make sense. At six plus, they don’t.

DeborahTable Rock, NE

Really good. Separate sauce helps

Best tv dinner style pasta I’ve had. The sauce is great.

The separate sauce container really helps keep the from getting soggy.

Kind of smallish, though. Some meatballs may be a good addition.

It really did only take 60 seconds, too, since it is not frozen.

I’m going to get some more.

BetseyLowder, IL

Tasty pasta!

My teenage boys absolutely love this pasta! It’s so easy to make. Just pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds and it tastes delicious. The pasta is firm and the marinara sauce has a kick. Spicy is good! I love that it contains no preservatives. Also, it has 11g of protein which makes it a good afternoon snack before heading out to soccer practice. We have also tried the other flavors and have not been disappointed. The only downside is the price.
JanelleFremont, WI

Very tasty and quick and easy to cook

I was pleasantly surprised with the great taste of the marinara sauce and the tenderness of the pasta (and in only 60 seconds.) I added some grilled chicken and grated Parmesan cheese and had a fantastic, healthy little meal. The price here seems a little high especially with the shipping (the reason I give it 4-stars instead of 5) but I will definitely be checking my grocery for these next time I go in.

Edit: Nice to see that these are available directly from Amazon now with Prime shipping (I’ve already bought a 6-pack.)

CathyJohnson Creek, WI

Good pasta, sauce

I was excited to find a pasta meal with spicy sauce as I’m a big fan of fra diavolo sauces. While not as spicy as I would have liked, this sauce had a good flavor and it was on the sweet side with chunks of tomatoes mixed in. The pasta (fiber enhanced semolina) was perfect – firm and tasty. I shared this with my sister and niece (we were doing a “taste test” of different versions…) and they liked this, too.

The one minute in the microwave was plenty of time – meal was hot enough. The top – a sealed piece of plastic that you peel off over the sauce to cook then fully remove to pour the sauce over the pasta – is a bit difficult to remove. I slopped some sauce trying to get it off so if you’re making these at work, be careful.

Calorie wise, this was just over 300 calories and had 6 grams of fiber. The portion is very generous (I thought…) and the sodium content, while not low, isn’t too bad (around 700 mg). I also like the fact that this line has no “mystery” ingredients. I would definitely buy this again and only taking off a star for the packaging.

StanfordMonroe Center, IL

Awesome taste – and ready in 60 seconds!

The Barilla Mezze Penne with Spicy Marinara Sauce is ready in 60 seconds from the microwave. The sauce has Barilla’s usual high quality and the red pepper gives it just the right amount of “kick” to make it spicy good. After heating, you pour the sauce over the penne, which comes out nice and firm. This pasta meal has 320 calories, 0 cholesterol, 700 mg sodium and 6g fiber. Combine this with a green salad and a slice of French Bread and one can have a scrumptuous meal in just a few minutes’ time. One of the best 60-second meals around.
FranciscoGould City, MI

Ultra FAST, this is the 60 Second soultion! GREAT Taste, too!

One of the BEST new products I have tried this year (2012). Unlike some other meals, in simi;ar pachages, this is fully cooked ,and ready eat in just 60 seconds!

I became aware of this product at a “craft service” table on a television shoot that went in to the wee hours – it is really good! Perfect for a lunch, or perhaps a side-dish. Or… when you get home, and are too tired to cook ANYTHING ( been there, done THAT ).

Barilla has always had good pasta and sauce, and this flavor should be familar to you, if you have tried them before. The KEY feature here is ease of prep. If you can, add in some grated cheese and a salad, and you have a meal in minutes.

While popular on TV and movie sets, this could easily be a a terrific “comfort food” gift for seniors, college students, or perhaps someone not feeling up to par.

I like the spicy formula, though there are several others, without the minor “kick”. Is it “al-dente”?, no, but is it darn good. Plate it (or even paper-plate it) and you will enjoy a fast-casual premium dining option.

The Amazon price is great, and is LOWER than what I saw in a wharehouse store this weekend- the individual packs are around $4.00 each, at regular retail, and are well worth it.

Do consider this for yourself, it is a bit of everyday luxury. And, like I said, consider those seniors, and college students – I ASSURE you this would be a most welcome gift!

RickiLake Minchumina, AK