Penne (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpenːe]) is a type of pasta with cylinder-shaped pieces. Penne is the plural form of the Italian penna (meaning feather but pen as well), deriving from Latin penna (meaning "feather" or "quill"), and is a cognate of the English word pen. When this format was created in the 19th century it was supposed to imitate the fountain pen's steel nibs.
The penne are one of the few pasta shapes with a certain date of birth: in 1865 a pasta maker from
San Martino d'Albaro (Genoa), Giovanni Battista Capurro, asked for and obtained a patent for a diagonal cutting machine. The patent was important because it allowed to cut into a pen shape the fresh pasta without crushing it, in a variable size between 3 and 5 cm mezze penne (half pens) or penne (pens).