Penne lisce and penne rigate: what's the difference?

Why have Italians got a joke about different types of penne pasta? It's all in the texture.

32w ago

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It has become a joke: Italians do not buy penne lisce, even if they're doing raids in supermarkets. While the rest of the world is fighting over bog rolls, we wisely chose pasta, but with an exception: penne lisce. You know eating for us is a serious matter.

But what is penne lisce? And why does no one want them?

Penne lisce are a type of pasta. You surely know regular penne, and you may have noticed that they have tiny lines carved on the surface, unlike penne lisce (lisce = plain, smooth ) which have a smooth surface. Basically people avoid them because of their texture.

Close up of penne rigate

Close up of penne rigate

A good quality pasta has to be rough to hold the sauce. The more rough the surface is, the more the sauce stays on the pasta. The fact is that pasta produced by big factories lacks porosity, turning an already smooth format of pasta into something even more slippery. Most pasta is consumed with tomato sauce, and you do not want all the sauce to slide off your pasta no? That's why people prefer penne rigate!

I don't have penne lisce at home, so here we have farfalle, smooth surface like penne lisce.

I don't have penne lisce at home, so here we have farfalle, smooth surface like penne lisce.

Although, penne lisce aren't a product of the devil. Many kinds of pasta liscia, like farfalle, or paccheri, are a good format for fish and seafood recipes, or vegetable pasta. It's all a matter of the sauce.

What's your favorite pasta?

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