Penne Vs Rigatoni: Which One Holds Sauce Better?

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Have you ever been faced with the dilemma of trying to decide which pasta shape to use for your favorite sauce? While there are many types of pasta available, two of the most popular shapes are penne and rigatoni. But when it comes to holding sauce, which one reigns supreme? After tasting and testing each type of pasta, I’m here to tell you that penne vs rigatoni is a real battle – and there’s a clear winner!

In this article, I’ll compare penne and rigatoni across a variety of factors. From their taste, texture and ability to hold sauces, I’ll take a look at which one comes out on top in the great penne vs rigatoni debate. So if you’re looking for an answer as to which one holds sauces best – keep reading!

Finally, I’ll provide my own opinion on how each type of pasta stands up against each other. With my advice and tips, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when it comes time to buy your next box of pasta. So let’s get started and find out which one is the ultimate sauce-holding champion in the penne vs rigatoni showdown!

Definition Of Penne And Rigatoni

Penne and rigatoni are two types of pasta that have become staples in many kitchens around the world. Penne is a tube-shaped pasta that’s cut diagonally at both ends, while rigatoni is a larger, more cylindrical shape with ridges running along its length. Both types of pasta can be served with a variety of sauces, but which one holds sauce better?

To answer this question, it’s important to understand the differences between penne and rigatoni. Penne is typically made from durum wheat flour and is often used for dishes like macaroni and cheese or baked ziti. Rigatoni, on the other hand, is usually made from semolina flour and is best suited for heartier sauces such as Bolognese or arrabbiata. The ridges on the surface of rigatoni allow it to absorb more sauce than penne, making it the superior choice for saucy dishes.

Shape And Texture

Moving on from the definitions of penne and rigatoni, let’s take a look at their shape and texture. Penne is usually short hollow tubes with diagonally cut ends that are slightly curved. Rigatoni is similar in shape but is larger than penne and has ridges along its length.

When it comes to texture, here are some things to consider:

  1. Penne has a smooth surface which makes it easy for sauces to cling to its walls.
  2. Rigatoni has ridges which can help hold more sauce than penne, trapping it within its grooves.
  3. Penne and rigatoni both have hollow centers which helps them absorb flavor from the sauce they are cooked in.

Overall, rigatoni does hold more sauce than penne due to its ridged surface, but both pastas still have plenty of potential for holding flavorful sauces!

Sauce-Holding Ability

When it comes to the sauce-holding ability of penne and rigatoni, I think both are pretty good. Penne has a narrow cylindrical shape which helps hold onto the sauce, while rigatoni is slightly larger with ridges that give it an extra grip. So whichever one you choose, your dish will be flavourful and saucy!

That said, I think penne does have a slight edge when it comes to holding sauce. The narrow shape makes for fewer gaps between pieces of pasta, so there’s less room for sauce to escape. Plus, the ridges on penne help trap more sauce than rigatoni’s smooth surface does. So if you’re looking for maximum sauciness in your dish, go with penne!

Cooking Times

Moving on to cooking times, penne and rigatoni are not far apart in this respect. Penne usually requires a cooking time of 8-12 minutes while rigatoni takes a bit longer at 10-14 minutes. Both types of pasta take a bit longer if they’re cooked ‘al dente’. The difference between the two isn’t huge but it’s still worth noting. Both types can be cooked quickly and easily, so whichever you choose you won’t have to wait long for your meal. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference when it comes to cooking times.

Nutritional Profile

When it comes to nutrition, penne and rigatoni are quite similar. They both have roughly the same amount of calories, carbohydrates, and protein per serving. However, there are a few differences in their nutritional profiles that may be beneficial depending on your diet.

| Nutrient | Penne (100g) | Rigatoni (100g) |

| ——– |:————:| :————-:|

| Calories | 357 kcal | 358 kcal |

| Carbs | 67.5 g | 68.6 g |

| Protein | 13.1 g | 12.9 g |

| Fat | 1.2 g | 1.1 g |

| Fiber | 2.7 g | 2.8 g |

Both penne and rigatoni are low in fat and fiber, which makes them a good choice for those looking for lighter options without sacrificing flavor or texture. Penne has slightly more calories than rigatoni due to its higher carb content, but the difference is negligible when consumed in normal portions. Whether you prefer penne or rigatoni will largely depend on your personal preferences and dietary needs; however, both can be enjoyed as part of a balanced meal without any significant nutritional drawbacks!

Popular Dishes

Moving on from the nutritional profile of penne and rigatoni, let’s take a look at some popular dishes that each pasta is typically used in. Penne is perfect for dishes like penne alla vodka, which is a creamy tomato sauce with onions and garlic, along with bacon or pancetta. You can also enjoy it in baked pasta dishes like lasagna and pasta bakes. Rigatoni, on the other hand, is often used in hearty meat sauces such as Bolognese or sausage ragu. It’s also great for chunky vegetable sauces as the ridges help to hold the sauce onto the pasta.

No matter what dish you choose to make with either type of pasta, you’ll find that both hold their sauces well – but rigatoni definitely has an edge when it comes to sauce retention! The ridges make sure that every bite you take is full of flavor.


In conclusion, when it comes to penne vs rigatoni, each pasta has its own unique qualities that make it perfect for certain dishes. Penne’s ridges make it great for holding lighter sauces like pesto, while the larger cavities of rigatoni make it perfect for heavier sauces like bolognese. Both pastas have a similar texture and cook time, but their nutritional profiles differ slightly.

Ultimately, the choice of which one holds sauce better comes down to personal preference and the type of sauce you plan on using. If you’re looking for something to hold a light sauce, penne is probably your best bet. But if you’re planning on making a dish with a heavier sauce like bolognese, then rigatoni is definitely the way to go.

No matter which one you choose, both penne and rigatoni are delicious options that can help you create a variety of tasty dishes! So next time you’re at the store picking out your favorite pasta shape, remember that there’s no wrong answer when it comes to penne vs rigatoni – just pick whichever one sounds the most delicious!

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