Penne pasta is a type of macaroni formed into two-inch long, tubular shapes. They are also known as mostaccioli. according to All Recipes. The diagonal cuts at the end make them resemble the end of a "quill pen," which is where they get their name. Penne is well known for its starring role in Penne ala Vodka, a pasta dish served with a tomato cream sauce spiked with vodka.
A cup of penne pasta has the same amount of calories as most other pastas--about 200 calories. The exact amount depends on how you accurately you measure. If you pack your pasta, it will contain more in a cup than if you let it stack loosely. A more accurate way to determine calories is to weigh it. About 100 g of pasta, or about 3.5 oz, contains 141 calories, according to Nutri-Facts, which takes its information from the official nutrition database of the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA.
A cup of penne pasta contains approximately 8 g of protein, 1 g of fat (none of which is of the saturated or trans varieties) and 43 g of carbohydrates. It has a fiber content of approximately 2.5 grams. One cup of penne is a good source of the B vitamins thiamin and folate and offers a high amount of the mineral selenium.
Penne's high carbohydrate content provides your body with glucose, which is the primary fuel for your brain and muscles, explains the National Pasta Association. It is low in sodium and free of cholesterol. If you choose a whole-grain variety, the nutritional benefits increase in terms of fiber content.
A one cup serving of cooked penne pasta provides two servings of grains, explains the Cleveland Clinic. One oz. of uncooked pasta is another way to measure a serving. The USDA recommends eating between three and eight servings of grains, breads, cereals or pastas daily depending on your size, activity level, gender and age.
The National Pasta Association says that 8 oz of uncooked pasta will yield 4 cups cooked. Penne's shape works well with chunky meat sauces and thick cuts of vegetable. The type of sauce you add will affect the nutritional value of your meal. Creamy, buttery or cheesy sauces add significant fat and calories. If you are watching your weight, choose tomato- or vegetable-based sauces.