|Place of origin||Italy|
|Variations||Penne lisce, penne rigate, pennoni, mostaccioli|
Penne (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpenːe]) is an extruded type of pasta with cylinder-shaped pieces, their ends cut at a bias. Penne is the plural form of the Italian penna (meaning feather but pen as well), deriving from Latin penna (meaning "feather" or "quill"), and is a cognate of the English word pen. When this format was created, it was intended to imitate the then-ubiquitous fountain pen's steel nibs.
Penne are one of the few pasta shapes with a certain date of birth: in 1865, Giovanni Battista Capurro, a pasta maker from San Martino d'Albaro (Genoa), obtained a patent for a diagonal cutting machine. His invention cut the fresh pasta into a pen shape without crushing it, in a size varying between 3 cm (1 in) mezze penne (half pens) and 5 cm (2 in) penne (pens).
Description and variations
In Italy, penne are produced in two main variants – "penne lisce" (smooth) and "penne rigate" (furrowed), the latter having ridges on each penna. Pennoni ("big quills") is a wider version of penne. A slightly larger version called mostaccioli (meaning "little mustache" in some Italian dialects) can also be found, which can also be either smooth or ridged in texture.
Penne is traditionally cooked al dente and its shape makes it particularly adapted for sauces, such as pesto, marinara, or arrabbiata. The latter has been celebrated several times in Italian movies, notably in Marco Ferrari's La Grande Bouffe and Federico Fellini's Roma.
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