Penne pasta recipes are numerous because penne are one of the most popular pasta shapes. The noun penne, plural of penna, in Italian means feather. Feathers, especially goose feathers were used for writing until the 19th century. They were cut at an angle for this purpose. That is why the name. Penne pasta is cut the same way. Only, the size is much bigger.
One reason people love penne pasta is because it’s short pasta, easier to manage unlike long pasta. Spaghetti, fettuccine and the likes, can be more difficult to handle, especially for young kids. That’s where macaroni and cheese come to salvation for them.
Also, like in sports, there are fans and aficionados for certain types of pasta. Penne and rigatoni are the most popular in the short types of pasta, but there are more penne pasta recipes than any other short pasta shapes.
Sauces for pasta that are good for spaghetti and fettuccine, can find their place with short pasta too. So you can have Spaghetti marinara and penne marinara and tagliatelle bolognese and penne with bolognese sauce too.
You wouldn’t ask for penne Alfredo or penne with clam sauce. You would get a puzzled look. Alfredo and fettuccine are inseparable and a clam sauce recipe is always with spaghetti or linguine. It’s not of just a pure choice. Long pasta in some cases is more indicated for certain sauces.
Penne pasta recipes have their iconic dishes. Penne arrabbiata and penne with vodka sauce for example. The tubular shape of penne with their diagonal cuts is better suited to collect sauces, better than rigatoni or ziti that have a straight cut.
Then there is the choice to consider about the two types of penne: “penne rigate”, with ridges along their length or “penne lisce”, just smooth. Penne rigate are the ones more in use. They are better for the sauce to stick to them. Penne lisce may only serve to produce a softer sensation to the palate. You decide.
A dish everybody likes is penne prosciutto e piselli (ham and peas), easy and quick to make It’s finished with cream. Or still with prosciutto, a similar dish penne prosciutto e pomodoro, a surprising pleasant twist to a simple tomato sauce. An interesting variation is penne prosciutto panna pomodoro. Remember the 4 P’.
When you don’t want to bother with the long pasta, more difficult to submerge it into the boiling water and more difficult to wrestle from then on, use short pasta, easier and more manageable. Penne are everybody’s favorites.
Penne pasta recipes can be with meats, with ham and peas, with sausage or bacon like the nourishing maccheroni with chickpeas. For vegetarian recipes, try penne with ricotta and basil adding some fresh San Marzano tomato, and penne vegetarian. or penne with a simple marinara sauce. One of the dishes I do often as for something different. is penne with salmon, easy ad very tasty. Or an educated dish is penne with vodka and salmon. For a rustic nutritious plate easy to prepare try penne alla boscaiola.
Penne come in a larger size and are called pennoni, not too much in use. “Pennette”, little penne, are more common. They are well suited for cold pasta salad recipes.