Does anyone know how to make penne pasta?

I’ve made my pasta dough. I just need to shape the penne, but am having trouble finding any clues on the web. I have an idea it involves cutting the pasta into squares and shaping the pasta around a wooden spoon. But what makes it stick together? Any knowledge at all is very much appreciated.



I thought you needed an extruder to make penne?

Observe, for example, these attachments for a pasta machine. An extruder us used for penne, macaroni, etc:

I think, technically, the answer to the OP is “Yes. There is definitely someone, somewhere who knows how.”, but that’s not very helpful. :wink: Luckily, Hello Again’s guess is pretty much right on the money. While tubular pastas can be made by hand, it’s difficult to make them appealingly consistent that way, as well as extremely time consuming.

But, if your heart is set on totally authentic pasta, roll it through the pasta machine (or by hand) until it is medium thick. Angel hair thickness won’t do. Cut into wide-ish strips, the actual width depending on the shaping method you use. To make the tubes, cut the long strips into short ones. Use either cooking spray or flour, not both, to “lubricate” a forming tool, which can simply be the (clean!) tube of a stick-type pen, or something similar. Wrap the short strip of pasta around the lubricated stick and pinch the seam closed with your (NON-flour-or-oil-coated) fingers. Run the back of a spoon’s bowl along the seam to smooth it. Cut the pasta tube into the desired lengths, if necessary, and slide off the stick. Repeat 100 to 500 times. (Or, until you chew your own leg off to escape. Whichever comes first.) :slight_smile:

I neglected to mention, the reason I don’t recommend a wooden spoon is that it is very difficult to slide the pasta off the spoon. Too much grain and friction. The wood tends to absorb all the oil and flour doesn’t seem to work well on wood. At least, not for me. If you have one of the new “plastic wooden spoons”, that should do nicely.

Oh, and what makes it stick is the dough’s gluten; the same thing that allows it to form sheets. :slight_smile:

Hmm. Extruding sounds easier. Do they still make the play-doh “factory” toys? I bet that’d do it.

Thanks for posting! Davebear, I tried the wooden spoon trick with a few squares of pasta (the rest I made bowties with…I know how to make those), but they went all floppy when boiled. I think this is because my dough was too thin? But they did stick. I will try again. And as to time-consuming authentic pasta-making? What can I say: I got laid off and I’m bored to tears.

capybara, I do have a playdough machine, but it only spits out frenchfries and milkshakes, McDonalds style. Damn.

The “all floppy” might be a result that you’re making fresh pasta, which cooks differently than dried pasta.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen “fresh” penne, even in Italy, and I’d expect them to be floppy if I did. . .