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  • Writer's pictureJohn Boccellari


It's time to continue our Trader Joe's pre-made meal series. This time I am going to make it all about the Penne Arrabbiata. I have fond memories of my great grandmother, Noni, coming to my house as a child and making many types of pasta with my father from scratch. Whether it be linguine, ravioli, you name it and she made it. Making pasta from scratch at home is a lost art that I often feel I need to bring back to life in my household. In the past I reviewed Trader Joe's Linguine with Clam Sauce which you will know that I actually enjoyed. The Penne Arrabbiata is really no different. Then I have to ask, what would Noni think?

When you open the bag you will find precooked frozen penne and cubes of sauce throughout. You can either reheat the Penna Arrabbiata in a sautee pan or in the microwave. I personally chose the microwave this time around because I wanted to see how it would hold up as a dish while microwaving completely. You will see four photos above of the different stages of reheating. I will warn you, it did take a few extra minutes to microwave than the directions instructed. I have found this to be true with all of Trader Joe's microwave to reheat meals. Once completed you get a piping hot bowl of penne ready to eat.

Enough reheating. How did it taste? I want to be honest here. I did not expect to enjoy the Penne Arrabbiata as much as I did. Granted that this is a pre-made item and will never taste as if it was freshly made. I have to admit, it did come closer that I thought. The sauce was sweet and had great tomato flavor while also giving off just enough spice. You taste the herbs and garlic in every bite. The penne was not overly cooked even considering that I microwaved it for those few extra minutes. It was almost al dente.

Trader Joe's continues to impress me. Take this coming from a Italian who loves to cook sauce from scratch, this bag of precooked pasta would fool many. The Penne Arrabbiata was delicious and I will go on record by stating that I purchased a second bag. Hopefully my great grandmother, Noni, forgives me for enjoying this pasta the way I did. However if you are in a bind and want to have a nice meal and do not have the time do make it from scratch, the Penne Arrabbiata is definitely a recommendation that I give to you. Enjoy!

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