Ziti and Penne: The Differences and a Quick Run-down

Pasta comes in a variety of forms, shapes and sizes. However, they do not just differ in the physical appearance. These distinctions and differences are also factors that one has to consider when choosing what pasta dish to cook or make.

Perhaps, one of the most confusing things about pasta is the difference between ziti and penne. Both of this pasta look so alike that it may even confuse you on which one is the right pasta for a certain pasta dish. Here in this article, I will get down to each and every detail and find out what is the difference between ziti and penne.

Brief History and Background

1. The History of Ziti

To be able to get an in-depth understanding of the difference between the two, let us first identify the background of each pasta. First stop, let us talk about ziti. One of the things I like about the origins of this pasta is the etymology. This is because it gives me an idea about their physical description as well.

The name ziti was actually formed from the word zita. Zita is actually what you call a woman preparing to get married in Italy. Now usually, in wedding celebrations, pasta dishes made out of the hollowed pasta were the norm. Basically, Ziti has a hollow shape.

2. The History of Penne

I also love the etymology of this one. Penne as you pronounce it is actually taken from the word pen. And yes that means, pen as in the tool that you use to write words. Penne, just like Ziti, came from Italy. To be specific, Penne came from Campania.

Now, the reason why Penne is called as such is actually just a brief reminder of the physical appearance of Penne. This is because Penne resembles a pen due to its shape which has a diagonal end and looks like a quill pen. To be able to easily remember the difference, just remember that Penne looks like a quill pen pasta, unlike Ziti.

The Difference in Terms of Physical Appearance

For you to understand better the difference between the two, let us first identify what are the similarities between the two pasta. Well, first of all, they are both hollow and come in the form of a cylinder shape. Now, onto the more detailed stuff. Let us talk about the difference between two pasta dishes in terms of physical factors.

Ends and Edges

These two pasta may be both hollow and cylinder. However, if you look closely at the ends or their respective tip, you will notice a very clear distinction. As stated, Penne came from the word pen because it resembles a quill pen.

This is because a Penne pasta looks to cut at a certain angle. This gives the pasta a diagonal tip or end. On the other hand, the Ziti is really just a straight and hollow pasta that resembles a tube.


Size: Length and Width

Next, let us talk about the size. When it comes to the shape, there really is not much of a difference between the two. However, when it comes to the proportionalities, that is where you will really see the distinction and difference between the two.

To be specific, if you look at it, both kinds of pasta are technically just medium in size. However, when it comes to the length or how long the pasta is, the Ziti certainly is the stand out because it is longer than Penne.

Meanwhile, if we're talking about the width, the stand out here is the Penne. This is because Penne is much wider while Ziti is noticeably narrower.


Texture

Lastly, let us talk about their differences in terms of the texture. First of all, Penne can come in two forms depending on the texture. It can both be really smooth but rigged, as well. Arguably, the rigged type is the better one or perhaps the more famous one. Meanwhile, the Ziti pasta is just particularly known for its smooth texture.

The Difference in Terms of Dishes

Now, let us talk about the difference between the two dishes and how it applies to the dishes and in the kitchen.

  • First thing to consider is the pasta sauce. If a pasta sauce is very thick and lumpy, what you generally need is also a pasta that comes in a thick form. This is so that your chosen pasta will not break or anything.
  • Meanwhile, if your pasta is thick and the sauce is also rather thick or oily and your pasta is also thick then the pasta sauce will easily be able to separate the pasta. As a result, the pasta can move freely.
  • Next, we can talk about the texture when combined with the sauce. When it comes to pasta that has rigged surfaces or texture, sauces that come in thin consistencies go well with them.
  • This is because, with this combination, the sauce can attach easily to the ridged surface. Next, let us talk about the pasta with the smooth texture. Sauces that are creamy work best with these types of pasta.

The Difference Between Ziti and Penne

  • Penne pasta is thick and hollow. Moreover, they also come in two types of texture. Typically, sauces that are creamy and very thick when it comes to their consistencies are what work best with them.
  • As compared to Penne pasta, Ziti pasta is narrower in width. In result, this type of pasta works best with sauces that are a bit watery or those that come in thinner consistencies.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both types of pasta have similarities and differences, as well. First of all, they have the same shape. They are hollow and are cylindrical. However, in terms of size, texture and ends, they are different.

Ziti is straight, on the other hand, Penne has a diagonal end. Penne pasta is also wider and come in both textured. As a result, Penne pasta works best with creamy sauces. Meanwhile, Ziti pasta is narrower. In result, this type works best with less thick sauces.

Emily Mathews
 

Hi, I am Emily Mathews. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee, where I learned how to cook fabulous local dishes from my Mother. I have 3 children and they enable me to cook from my heart every day. I am also passionately interested in creating globally inspired food with locally grown ingredients.

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