Italian for "pen," but referring to a quill, penne pasta is a short tubular pasta cut on an angle. They may be smooth or ridged (the latter are labeled penne rigate), and are a good match for thick sauces.
Substitute other short tubular pasta, like ziti or rigatoni.
Boil in abundant well-salted water until tender.
Dried pasta will last just about indefinitely in the pantry.