Penne lisce: the exterior of this pasta has a smooth surface.
Place of originItaly
VariationsPenne lisce, penne rigate, pennoni, mostaccioli

Penne (Italian: [ˈpenːe]) are an extruded type of pasta with tubular pieces, with ends cut at an angle. They are usually made from wheat flour.


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 steel nib of fountain and dip pens.[1]


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 (lit.'half pens') and 5 cm (2 in) penne (lit.'pens').[1][2]

Description and variations

Cooked mezze penne rigate, showing its ridged surface

In Italy, penne are produced in two main variants: penne lisce ('smooth') and penne rigate ('furrowed'), the latter having ridges on each penna. Pennoni is a wider version of penne.[3] In English-language contexts, a version is called mostaccioli by various manufacturers, which may be either smooth or ridged in texture.[4][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 Ferreri's La Grande Bouffe and Federico Fellini's Roma.[6]

See also

Media related to Penne (pasta) at Wikimedia Commons



  1. ^ a b "Penne? In origine erano con lo zafferano" (in Italian). 28 June 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Mezze Penne Rigate n° 141 Integrali - Pasta De Cecco" (in Italian). Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Pasta Shapes". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Creamette - Our Products - Mostaccioli Rigati". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Barilla - Mostaccioli". Barilla Pasta. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  6. ^ Giorgioni, Livio (2002). La grande abbuffata : percorsi cinematografici fra trame e ricette (in Italian). Pontiggia, Federico, 1978-, Ronconi, Marco, 1972-. Cantalupa (Torino): Effatà. p. 25. ISBN 9788874020225. OCLC 50875311.