Penne are a type of Italian pasta that have a cylindrical shape with both ends that are diagonally cut in a parallel direction. Because of their shape and hollow interior, penne are usually cooked with creamy sauces such as tomato sauce, pesto
, or arrabbiata
, so that the sauce is captured inside the penne. Penne are traditionally cooked al dente.
Penne were invented in 1865 in Genova
, when Giovanni Battista Capurro patented a diagonal cutting machine that he used to cut pasta into penne. Penne is the plural of the word penna, which means pen in Italian. Capurro decided to name this pasta penne because their shape resembled that of the fountain pen.
The correct pronunciation of penne in Italian is pen-neh
. To pronounce penne correctly, two elements are crucial. First, the double "n" sound must be stressed and elongated. This is important not only because it is the correct way to pronounce the word, but because if you pronounce penne with a single "n", you pronounce the word pene
, which in Italian means "penis". Second, the end of the word, -neh contains an open "e" sound and not, as is often transcribed elsewhere, a -nei sound.
How to pronounce Italian pasta shapes