Penne is a thin tube pasta that goes well with hearty sauces such as pesto and meat-based marinara. "Rigate" in the name indicates that the penne has a ridged surface. The open tubes, which are 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inches long, allow the sauce to fill through the middle, while the ridges help the sauce cling to the outside, giving you substantial flavor with each bite. Penne takes a little longer to cook than long, thin pastas, like spaghetti or fettuccine, but the taste is worth the wait.
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Fill your pot with water according to package directions, depending on how much pasta you're cooking. Sprinkle with salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
Add penne rigate pasta to the boiling water. Reduce the heat slightly to medium high.
Cook the pasta for approximately 14 minutes. Stir the penne occasionally to prevent the tubes from sticking to each other and to the pot. Taste the pasta to see if it is the desired texture; penne rigate is commonly served al dente, or chewy.
Drain the pasta in a colander. Top with your favorite sauce.
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Chill the leftover penne rigate in the refrigerator and use it in a cold pasta salad the next day. Combine it with your favorite vegetables and mayonnaise or your favorite dressing.
Use penne in a casserole by mixing it with marinara sauce and placing it in a casserole dish. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.