Among various pasta varieties, penne and linguine stand out as two classic choices. Each offers unique characteristics that elevate the dining experience.
In today’s blog post, you’ll learn about the subtle but crucial differences between penne and linguine: their origin, shapes, ideal pairings, and the perfect occasions to enjoy them.
Let’s visit the pasta world!
What is Penne Pasta?
Penne pasta is a type of short, tube-shaped pasta that is cut on a diagonal. It’s the plural form of the Italian word “penna,” which means “feather,” or “pen.” The name refers to the shape of the pasta, which resembles a quill pen.
Penne pasta is about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. It’s available in both smooth and ridged varieties.
Penne pasta is typically made from durum wheat semolina, which gives it a slightly yellowish color and a firm, chewy texture when cooked al dente. The dough is extruded through bronze dies. It creates characteristic ridges on the surface of the pasta. These ridges help the penne hold onto sauces and dressings, ensuring every bite is flavorful.
The roots of penne pasta can be traced to 19th-century Italy. During this period, Giovanni Battista Capurro, a skilled pasta maker from San Martino d’Albaro (Genoa), got a patent for his innovative diagonal pasta cutting machine in the year 1865.
His machine cut the fresh pasta into a pen shape without crushing it. His penne pasta varied in size between 3 cm (1 in), mezze penne (half pens) and 5 cm (2 in) penne (pens).
Due to its versatile shape and texture, penne pasta pairs well with a wide range of sauces, like creamy, tomato-based, and oil-based options.
Today penne pasta is available in different types. And the most common types are:
- Penne rigate (ridged penne) allows sauces to stick to the pasta.
- Penne lisce (without ridges) provides a smoother surface for sauces.
What is Linguine Pasta?
Linguine pasta is a traditional type of Italian pasta. It has a long, flat, and ribbon-like shape.
The name “linguine” comes from the Italian word “lingua,” which means “tongue,” highlighting the resemblance of this pasta to narrow, flat tongues.
Linguine is made from durum wheat semolina, like other pasta types. The dough is rolled out and cut into thin, flat strips, usually around 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch (3 to 4 mm) wide.
Linguine pasta is cut similar to fettuccine and trenette but elliptical in section rather than flat. The pasta is then dried, preserving its shape and allowing it to be stored for an extended period.
When cooked, linguine has a tender yet slightly firm texture, characteristic of al dente pasta. Its flat surface provides an excellent canvas for sauces to cling, ensuring each strand is coated evenly.
The versatility of linguine makes it suitable for oil-based sauces. Additionally, linguine is often paired with seafood.
Classic Italian dishes featuring linguine include:
- Linguine alle vongole (linguine with clams).
- Linguine aglio e olio (linguine with garlic and oil).
- Linguine with pesto.
- Linguine with seafood marinara.
What’s the Key Difference Between Penne and Linguine Pasta?
The primary difference between penne and linguine lies in their shapes and textures.
Penne has a hollow, ridged tube-like shape. It’s perfect for holding onto thick and chunky sauces.
In contrast, linguine’s flat, ribbon-like structure makes it ideal for lighter sauces, seafood, and olive oil-based dishes. The flat surface ensures that the sauce coats the pasta evenly, providing a delightful balance of flavors with each mouthful.
Concluding the Differences Between Penne and Linguine Pasta
- Linguine is a long, flat pasta, while penne is a short, tube-shaped pasta with 1.5 inches in length.
- Linguine is typically about 4 millimeters wide, while the penne pasta section is about 1/3 to 1/2 inches wide.
- Linguine has a smooth texture, while penne has a ridged texture.
- Linguine is good for thinner sauces, such as pesto or clam sauce. Yet, penne is typically served with thicker sauces, such as tomato sauce or cream sauce.
- Linguine is more popular in Italy, while penne is more popular in the United States.
I hope understanding these differences can help you take your pasta game to the next level.
Keep enjoying your delicious pasta!