- 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
Barilla Mezze Penne with Spicy Marinara Sauce
non-diet ‘diet food’
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…
Awesome, but too expensive here
Fine for a microwave dinner
Quick easy dinner
As good as these things get.
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.
I like it
Much Better Than Expected
good flavor and texture, but not sure I’d buy it
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.
Not “hot” spicy!
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!
Easy to prepare
Quick to prepare and sweet but not spicy
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.
Quick, Easy, Tastey, Relatively Cost-Effective, but Not Entirely Cost Effective
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.
Add your own meat
Quick Tasty 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 $2.99. Since these are eligible for free Super Saver shipping, you could have the convenience of having them delivered to your front door for free. The way I see it that’s a win all the way around.
I have tried other varieties of this product and found them to be equally good.
Bottom line: While I would probably not eat these everyday, they are tasty, quick, and easy lunch that’s not too hard on the wallet. Several varieties of this will always be in my pantry or the bottom drawer of my desk.
Amazingly fast & great taste.
We recently had a Barilla sauce from a jar at home that I thought was a bit bland; but this was good. Tomato and a touch of red-pepper heat.
Also in its favor is the fact that it is all natural. The fewer ingredients, the better & there aren’t a lot here. 320 calories & 29% of the sodium you need in a day (so it’s not perfect…but I’d really rather have the all natural than a chemical cocktail that has fewer calories).
It IS a little expensive. Nearly 6$ 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!
Tastes great, but use care when preparing
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.
Quite decent for microwave pasta
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”.
Quite good for what it is
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.
Really good. Separate sauce helps
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.
Very tasty and quick and easy to cook
Edit: Nice to see that these are available directly from Amazon now with Prime shipping (I’ve already bought a 6-pack.)
Good pasta, sauce
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.
Awesome taste – and ready in 60 seconds!
Ultra FAST, this is the 60 Second soultion! GREAT Taste, too!
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!