Penne vs Rigatoni

By | March 2, 2018

Are you a fan of pasta? Do you prefer richer sauces over the light one? If your answer is yes, then Penne and Rigatoni must be familiar in your ears. These two types of pasta is very common served with richer sauces such as all’arrabbiata and beef sauces. Penne and Rigatoni is commonly mistaken for each other. It is understandable since both of them do look similar to each other. However Penne and Rigatoni have some differences. Here in this article we will give you information about Penne and Rigatoni, also how are they differs from each other.

In this article we will learn about both Penne and Rigatoni:
1. What is Penne and how the pasta look like
2. The famous Penne all’arrabbiatta
3. How to cook a delicious Penne all’arrabbiata
4. What is Rigatoni and how the pasta look like
5. How Rigatoni should be cook
6. Penne vs Rigatoni

What is Penne?
Penne is a type of pasta, which have a cylinder shaped pieces. Penne is the plural word of Penna, which in latin means feather or quill and also a cognate of the English word pen. In Italy Penne are produced in two main variants, which are Penne lisce and Penne Rigate. Penne Rigate is the one that have ridges on each of the pasta. Pennoni is the bigger version of Penne. There is also a bigger version of Penne called mostaccioli it means little mustache, this type of Penne can be found in the ridged version or the smooth version. Penne is traditionally cooked al dente, the shape of Penne adapted for sauces, such as pesto, marinara, or arrabbiata.

Penne all’ arrabbiata
Among those sauces, all’arrabbiata might be the most popular to serve with Penne. All’arrabbiata sauce is an Italian spicy sauce, which made from garlic, tomatoes, and dried chili peppers cooked in olive oil. All’arrabbiata comes from the Lazio region not far from Rome. The word arrabbiata itself means “angry” in Italian, it was name like that because the sauce is very spicy.

Delicious Penne all’arrabbiata to make
Here is simple recipe to cook Penne with all’arrabbiata sauce from theguardian. First prepare all the ingredients, such as 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon chili flakes, 2 finely slice garlic cloves, 400 gr chopped tomatoes, 200 gr Penne, ¼ tablespoon red wine vinegar, and a handful of basil leaves.

After all ingredients is ready, it is time to cook the Penne all’arrabbiata. In a frying pan, heat oil with medium heat and add the chilli. When the chilli begins to darken, stir in the garlic and cook until the color changes slightly, then add the tomatoes and salt. Do not forget to break the tomatoes using a spoon. Simmer them for about 15 minutes. In other cooking pot boil water and pour the Penne with a pinch of salt until al dente. If the sauce becomes too dry you can add the boiling pasta water into the sauce. Then add the vinegar and season to taste. After you drain the pasta, pour it into the sauce and stir it well until the Penne is coated well. Serve immediately.

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What is Rigatoni?
Rigatoni is a type of pasta, which has a tubular shape and hollow center. Rigatoni has various lengths and diameters. Rigatoni differs from Penne and ziti by the size, it is clear that Rigatoni is bigger than Penne and it also found sometimes that Rigatoni shaped slightly curved, it is pretty hard to notice because the curve is very subtle. Rigatoni ends is always cut square to the tube walls.


The Rigatoni name comes from Italian word Rigato, which means “ridged” or “lined”. Rigatoni is associated with cuisine of southern and central Italy. Rigatoni also have another version smaller than Rigatoni called Rigatoncini, this version size is almost the same as Penne. Rigatoni is famous pasta in South Italy, for more specific in Sicily. The ridged surface of Rigatoni is said to make better adhesive surface for sauces and grated cheese compare to smooth pasta like ziti.

How to cook Rigatoni
Rigatoni is always and should only be cooked until al dente. Cooking Rigatoni too long will cause the pasta to collapse and making it limp, so the sauces will not able get inside the pasta. Cooking a durum Rigatoni will require different times depending on the size of the pasta. Generally the cooking time will take 10 to 14 minutes. Rigatoni made from other grains will require different amount of time to cook. It is advised to follow the instruction comes with the package.

Penne vs Rigatoni

- The size is smaller- The size is bigger
- Has diagonal ends- The end is square to its walls
- Has straight shape- Has subtle curve
- Has smaller inside- Has wider inside

As it is been said above even though Penne and Rigatoni were made from the same durum semolina or other types of grains still these two is different type of pasta. What differentiates Penne from Rigatoni is the size; Penne is clearly smaller compare to Rigatoni. Also the sides of Penne and Rigatoni is obviously cut differently, Penne sides is cut diagonally while Rigatoni sides is cut square to it walls. Another difference is the subtle curve in Rigatoni, it is pretty hard to notice, but it is there. At the other hand Penne is having a straight shape. Since both of them are made from the same materials, their taste will not differ. However Rigatoni inside is wider than Penne, so Rigatoni tends to keep sauces better than Penne.

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