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Jun 8, 2007 01:36 PM

Question About Pasta Types

I want to make Baked Ziti for the Soprano's final episode Sunday...but I'm having a difficult time locating Ziti pasta. I picked up a box of De Cecco 118. Zita cut pasta. Does anyone know if this is a suitable substitute. It is a two inch tube shaped pasta that seems like it may work. Thanks for any help you can provide!

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  1. I think any kind of pasta would be fine. Just make sure to cook it just before it's al dente.

    1. That sounds like what you need. Ziti cut is the same as Ziti. You're good!

      1. It will probably be fine. Ziti is a straight tube about 1/2" across and 2" long, the ends cut off flat. It can be smooth on the outside or ridged lengthwise. Penne is very similar and a perfectly acceptable sub, the main difference being the ends cut off at an angle.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Louise

          If I'm not mistaken ziti is simply rigatoni with the ends cut on the bias-- as well as being a slightly wider version of penne. What makes ziti superior to both rigatoni and penne for this particular dish is that the wideness is preferable for sauce/cheese capture, and the biased ends allow sauce and cheese a kind of gangplank for entry. I'd be shocked if zita and ziti weren't exactly the same thing, although I'd really be interested to know how the nomenclature developed. The plural of zita would be zite; the plural of zito would be ziti. How did a feminine singular get transformed into a masculine plural? I'd love to know, but suspect the confusion is just regional. Did someone call for a nutritional anthropologist?

          1. re: alias wade

            I think of ziti as being shorter than rigatoni or penne -but I'll have to look it up as I actually never use ziti.

            My new favorite place to look up different types of food:


            Looks to me that ziti is narrower and shorter than rigatoni - or penne, for that matter.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Ziti is smooth, and penne and rigatoni are ribbed, which makes them hold up better after cooking. Ziti and rigatoni are cut straight and penne is cut on the bias. Rigatoni is about twice as wide as penne or ziti, making it the best for capturing the sauce. Then we can get into penne rigate, mezzi rigatoni etc...

              I went to check my off-the-cuff
              remarks and look what I found, the story of zita!

              1. re: coll

                De Cecco has penne that has a "flat" surface - just called penne, and then the penne rigate is ribbed. Thanks for the barilla link - will check it out.

        2. You can use anything tube shaped, after it's done you won't know the difference. I like to mix two different shapes myself, like ziti and penne, or even mezzi rigatoni. Makes it more interesting, it's my husband's favorite dish but I find it boring. Which is good because I don't eat too much!

          2 Replies
          1. re: coll

            When you mix shapes, do you find they take different times to cook? Or does it not matter b/c it's baked? I prefer pastas that are "rigate" because I find otherwise the sauce slides off - but again, maybe not an issue in a baked pasta dish.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Not sure why my answer disappeared, I just said that I cook any pasta shapes I use for about 10 minutes together and then bake with sauce and cheese for a half hour, they'll never be al dente after that!

          2. Tripper, I'm thinking about making baked ziti, too--I'm curious, what recipe are you using?

            (We're also having gabagool and cannoli!)


            4 Replies
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I am making the Juniors Sunday Gravy recipe with the mini meatballs...both recipes are on the Soprano's website. Then combining and baking with cheese. I have no idea if this is the best way to do it...but I think it sounds good!

              1. re: Tripper

                AHA! Here the Sunday Gravy recipe.

                That sounds fantastic, but a little on the heavy side for me for summer and given my recent healthy eating goals. Yet, I think baked ziti is a must for this meal. I think I'm going to make this one, which claims to be from the Soprano's family cookbook. It's called "Janice's Baked Ziti," but we all know it must be Carmela's because of the basil!


                Good luck with your Sunday Gravy+meal balls. I bet it will be great.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  i use stale bread thats soaked in water or milk, then rung my meatballs..and i add fresh chopped basil....makes great metaballs...

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Just a quick note on Janice's Vegetarian Baked Ziti recipe. I added a layer of fresh spinach (our CSA box is full of it and we are sneaking it into everything we can these days), and I would say that this recipe could still use either more veggies or, alas, a bit of meat, say, some spicy sausage. Of course, I'm no expert on baked ziti as it's the first I've ever had. But, speaking strictly from my uneducated viewpoint, that's what I would do. It's still extremely rich, though, so maybe cut back on the amount of ricotta if you're going to add sausage. Overall, it was a hit, though.