Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

The thought of a baked pasta dish makes me salivate. I love baked spaghetti at our favorite local Italian restaurant, but I have not found a baked pasta recipe that makes me giddy with the thought of serving it.

Then I was lucky enough to be watching the Today show and they were doing a segment on a penne pie. Matt Lauer informed the lady cooking that  he was a big fan of spagetti pie. The lady assured him, this penne pie would be just as delicious.

They went through their segment showing how to make penne pie. The final moment when Matt takes a taste . . . drum roll, please . . . he closes his eyes, a look of contentment settles on his face as he savors this bite. “A winner, maybe even better than spaghetti pie!” he exclaimed. “I think you could even use Italian sausage for more flavor.”

My husband said, “That sounds good, we should try it sometime.” Within a week, I had assembled all the ingredients to make penne pie with Italian sausage.

As I am making this, I am hoping this is THE recipe that will be my baked pasta recipe. How can it miss? It is loaded with cheeses: ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella. Perhaps I have even added a bit more cheesy goodness than the recipe called for.

Penne pie process: from browning of sausage, mixing of cheeses with sauce, to adding in the penne

Penne pie process: from browning of sausage, mixing of cheeses with sauce, to adding in the penne

It smelled great. It came out of the oven, rested a bit so it wouldn’t fall apart. The big moment . . . the first taste . . .  waiting for that savoring of this pasta. Where’s the sigh of this-is-the-best-bite-ever? (especially, since we had Italian sausage, not just plain old hamburger) Take another bite, maybe that was the one bite that didn’t meld all the flavors . . .  Nope, that’s not the problem. There just isn’t a lot of flavor in this pasta.

Penne pie resting, and served

Penne pie resting, and served

Another night, we have the pasta as leftovers. This time red pepper flakes have been sprinkled over the pasta. It’s a little better, still not the sigh-inducing-best-pasta-ever flavor. I’m ready to chuck this recipe in the trash. My husband says, “It wasn’t bad, maybe with a few tweaks, it could be good.” I put the recipe back in the cabinet. Maybe one day I’ll play with it and see what else I can add to up the flavor. But in the meantime, I don’t know that I will believe Matt Lauer when he sighs and deems a recipe is wonderful. I will watch with a skeptical eye in the future.


18 thoughts on “Yummy?

  1. Love the photos and your words create anticipation for me. Sorry to hear it didn’t come out quite right but you are already working on ways to tweak it for next time. I too tried two new recipes today for Easter and we liked them lots. Maybe Matt Lauer needs to look at Cooking Light.

  2. Joyce says:

    Certainly felt your disappointment in that recipe. Let us know if you find one you like. I feel as if as if you are the master at noodling these secrets out. Did you see what I did there? Wishing you a wonderful Easter evening.

  3. Oh, Matt Lauer, how you deceive us. : ) Don’t you just hate it when a highly anticipated recipe doesn’t deliver? This happened to me last night when I tried a new recipe for strawberry cobbler. The recipe went right into the garbage with the leftovers.


  4. A dud! If anyone could make a recipe work it would be you, so I blame it on the recipe. Life is too short to go back to it. On to the next potential winner! Shame on you…don’t you know by now you can’t believe everything you hear on tv? Happy Easter!

  5. I had to laugh because I misread your husband’s words as “maybe in a few weeks it could be good.”
    Take the ‘A’ for effort! I’ve often wondered what television hosts really think when they taste something that they really don’t like, but can’t outright say it. This was a fun slice with lots of anticipation leading up to a disappointing “slice.” 🙂

  6. Bummer! It sure looks good from your pictures. I hate when I spend all the money on ingredients and time to prepare a new dish and then the taste does not equal the value of what I’ve already put in. Oh well, maybe now you and hubby can take a trip to Italy in search of the perfect recipe😉

  7. Sorry the taste didn’t match the look because it does look delicious. Hopefully you will soon find your baked pasta dish. In the meantime, have fun trying new recipes.

  8. rosecappelli says:

    I have to say it looks delicious! I’m sure you could find a way to tweak it. More garlic? that seems to work with Italian.

  9. Deceived by Lauer! I’m always so disappointed when a recipe does’t live up to expectations. I loved how you kept us in suspense; and then, when the first bite was not impressive, tried for the second bite-made me smile. I know that feeling so well…all that work…

  10. Terje says:

    Sometimes it’s the glorious review that may lift our expectation too high and the taste is a disappointment. The review may also depend on what we compare it with. Maybe the taster had never tasted what your taste bud memory holds.

  11. So weird to hear that. It all looks amazing and I always think that they at least like everything but really what can they say…ugh, this is terrible ?
    They usually just take small bites
    Maybe that’s an indicator when they devour something you know know they loved it
    When I was watching the View Whoppie would eat like she was starved😀

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