Penne Mezzane Rigate belong to the family of Penne, but differ in diameter as they are slightly smaller.
In Italian, the term "Penne" refers to the goose feather which was used historically to write with and was cut on a diagonal to achieve a really thin tip. The shape, obtained from a pasta tube, can be smooth or ridged, of varying length and has the typical diagonal cut of a quill.
Penne are one of the few types of pasta for which there is an exact date when it was created. Indeed, in 1865, a pasta-maker from San Martino d'Albaro (Genoa), Giovanni Battista Capurro, requested and obtained a patent for a diagonal cutting machine. The patent was important because it meant the fresh pasta could be cut like a quill without crushing it and in different lengths from 3 to 5 centimetres (mezze "half" penne or penne). The document preserved in the Central Archive of the State of Rome reads: "Up until now, a diagonal cut could only be made by hand with a pair of scissors which, in addition to being slow and time-consuming, also resulted in an irregular cut which flattened the pasta".
Penne Mezzane Rigate are excellent for preparing pasta dishes with meat ragù made from beef or pork. They also adapt perfectly to sauces made from vegetables such as aubergines, peppers, courgettes and artichokes or to more extravagant recipes with salmon or vodka.
Available in 500g packs.
Chitarrina Abruzzese is a typical regional speciality with an original long shape and a square cross section which is smaller that the classic Maccheroni alla Chitarra.
Historically, the pasta was cut with a special tool called a "chitarra" (guitar), consisting of a wooden frame over which thin, steel wires were stretched. The pasta, which was not excessively thin (about the thickness between one wire and another) was placed on the wires and then cut by pressing on it with a special little rolling pin.
This type of pasta is typically eaten with lamb ragù. In certain areas of Abruzzo, the traditional condiment for Chitarrina Abruzzese is a tomato sauce enriched with veal meatballs measuring about one centimetre across, known as "pallottelle".
The Chitarra Abruzzese is also excellent with different types of meat gravy, with sauces made from tomatoes and aubergines, or fish.
Available in 250g packs.