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Difference Between Ziti and Penne

pastaZiti vs Penne

Penne is one of the many varieties of pasta with pieces in cylindrical shapes. Penne has two main types in Italy, namely penne lisce and penne rigate, with the rigate having ridges on each noodle. Other penne variants include the pennon, which is typically wider. There is a type of penne lisce that has a smooth texture without ridges, called mostaccioli, and there is also ziti, which are hollow long wands, with a smooth texture and square-cut edges. When they are cut into shorter tubes, they are called ‘cut ziti’, although some particular dishes made from penne-shaped pasta may be called ‘cut ziti’. Ziti in a wider form is known as zitoni, but it’s worth noting that telling the difference between penne variants can be hard, especially in countries like the United States, because products are named differently depending on the region; thus there is a tendency to interchangeably name ridged and smooth penne subtypes.

Ziti can take on various definitions. While at times it may refer to a completely different type of pasta dish, in some places it may refer to a pasta dish with penne as the pasta. The name is derived from the Italian word ‘zito’ for bridegroom, and ziti is traditionally served at many Italian weddings. Baked ziti typically comprises of sauce, filling and the cooked pasta. The recipes are assembled, prepared and mildly cooked before they are baked.

In terms of cooking, penne is typically cooked to firmness, but not hardness, which is known as ‘al dente’ in Italian. It basically refers to the mid-way stage of cooking, where the pasta is hard in the middle, and the over-cooked stage where the pasta is too soft. The main difference between penne and ziti may well be that whereas penne can either be baked or cooked, ziti is always baked. However, they both have identical cooking times and water requirements.

1. On appearance, ziti has a slightly larger diameter and smooth surfaces, while penne has a smaller diameter and ridged surfaces.
2. Ziti has its ends cut straight, while penne has diagonally cut ends (cut at an angle).
3. Ziti is almost always baked, whereas penne can either be baked or cooked.

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