I'd been to Wig and Pen in Ankeny several times last November for their Chicago-style stuffed pizza and the Flying Tomato, a cheese-topper pan pizza crowned with slices of tomato. Both rate high in my book [see blog post].
Looking over the menu I was intrigued by Wig and Pen's baked pasta dish, the Wigatoni, but it took a few months and the onset of warmer weather before I managed a revisit.
First and foremost is the crusty-edged cap of melted mozzarella on top, keeping the combination of rotini and mostaccioli moist, but still appealingly firm. A choice of mild or spicy chunky Italian sausage is offered: I picked spicy. Indeed, spicy enough to take notice.
Held together with a lightly-chunky tomato sauce, it's on the loose side when piping hot. For that and to avoid burning your mouth, I suggest letting the dish rest for a bit to cool and firm up. Plenty of time to peck around the edges and loosen up that glorious crusty edge of cheese from the sides of the bowl.
Final assessment: the Wigatoni is good to the last slop. It's why garlic bread was invented. Wig and Pen also offers a Vegetoni with mushrooms, onions, and sweet Italian pepper, and mini versions of both best suited for lunch and smaller appetites.
Always on the lookout for mac and cheese I returned to try Wig and Pen's baked variety, with bacon crumbles as an add-on. Chicken is also another option. Built with rotini and mostaccioli tossed in a thin, creamy cheese sauce blend, topped with crisp breadcrumbs. An unexpected but tasty tang of cream cheese betrays its presence. Garlic bread pairs quite well. Its tasty and kid pleasing, but doesn't top the awesomeness of the Wigatoni.
Having scratched those off my must-do list at the Wig and Pen, I was more than ready to finally try their thin crust pizza. And what a marvelous thin crust it is: crisp, even under the middle, with a crunchy rind. It's now my favorite style of pizza here, even over the Flying Tomato. For the build I went with a Pub Special with pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, onion, and a bounty of sweet red pepper. Zippy red sauce, plentiful toppings.
Still feeling peckish after polishing off slightly less than half of a medium thin crust, I ordered up a Pizookie for dessert. What's a Pizookie you say? Its a chocolate chip cookie baked in a bowl, served from the oven, and topped with vanilla ice cream and a maraschino cherry. Simply put, it's good!