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Pennelisce closeup.png
Penne lisce, with their smooth side
Place of originItaly
VariationsPenne lisce, penne rigate, pennoni, mostaccioli

Penne (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpenːe]) is a type of pasta with cylinder-shaped pieces. 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 in the 19th century it was supposed to imitate the fountain pen's steel nibs.[1]


The penne are one of the few pasta shapes with a certain date of birth: in 1865 a pasta maker from San Martino d'Albaro (Genoa), Giovanni Battista Capurro, asked for and obtained a patent for a diagonal cutting machine. The patent was important because it allowed to cut into a pen shape the fresh pasta without crushing it, in a variable size between 3 and 5 cm mezze penne (half pens) or penne (pens).[2][3]

Description and variations[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

In the Trenton, New Jersey area, penne pasta is referred to as, "pencil points" due to its shape.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Pasta Shapes". Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  5. ^ "Creamette - Our Products - Mostaccioli Rigati". Archived from the original on 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  6. ^ Giorgioni, Livio, (2002). La grande abbuffata : percorsi cinematografici fra trame e ricette. Pontiggia, Federico, 1978-, Ronconi, Marco, 1972-. Cantalupa (Torino): Effatà. p. 25. ISBN 9788874020225. OCLC 50875311.
  7. ^