When walking down the pasta section of the grocery store, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the various pasta choices available. This post compares ziti pasta vs rigatoni and penne and explains how to substitute these pasta types.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have a recipe calling for ziti, but you have penne or rigatoni on hand? Or possibly, you run into a ziti shortage (that happened to me last July- I went to four grocery stores, and ziti was nowhere to be found).
Another scenario might be that you live abroad, and your pasta aisle is limited. What does one do in such a scenario? You substitute smartly!
All three different shapes of pasta are made from durum wheat flour, which means they have a similar taste. Each pasta type cooks in roughly the same amount of time (ziti pasta takes a little less time), and the cooked volume is very similar to one another.
When it comes to taste and texture, each kind of pasta has its own unique characteristics. Ziti is delicate and can be used in dishes such as baked ziti, while penne is slightly firm and works well with heavier sauces or meat sauces. Rigatoni is thicker and heartier and stands up well to thick sauces or chunkier sauces.
Ziti pasta is long hollow tubes with a smooth texture. It is usually more delicate than other types of pasta, so it is best served with sauces that are not too heavy, like a simple tomato sauce.
The tubular shape is an ideal shape for baked dishes such as this meatless baked ziti with ricotta, as the hollow center allows for the sauce to get inside and add extra flavor. Thin sauces or light sauces work best with ziti pasta's smooth surface.
Ziti takes about 10 minutes to cook al dente. It is important to keep an eye on the pasta and check for doneness, as overcooked pasta can become soggy and mushy. Because of its smooth exterior, cooked ziti tends to stick. The best way to prevent cooked ziti from sticking is to drizzle some olive oil on the exterior.
Rigatoni is a large tube-shaped pasta. It is usually cut into a larger diameter than other pastas and it has ridges that run along the length of the tube.
Rigatoni is usually thicker and heartier than other types of pasta, so it is best served with heavy sauces such as marinara, Bolognese, or this slow-simmered beef ragu.
When cooked, the outer ridges keep the rigatoni pasta from sticking to one another.
This type of pasta is also great for casseroles and baked dishes, like this Italian sausage rigatoni bake.
Penne is a short tube-shaped pasta with ridges that run along the length of the tube. It is usually cut on a diagonal which gives it a unique shape. This type of pasta is good for holding heavy sauces and adding texture to dishes.
Penne is often as a substitute for elbow macaroni in macaroni and cheese, and it can also be used in soups and pasta salads.
This slow-cooker meat spaghetti sauce is a good choice for cooked penne pasta.
When it comes to cooking time, all three of these kinds of pasta take about the same amount of time to cook. Ziti and penne will take about 10 minutes to cook, while rigatoni will take about 12 minutes.
I weighed four ounces of each pasta and placed the pasta in salted boiling water (separately). The cooked volume for penne and ziti was about the same, however, the cooked volume for rigatoni was slightly larger.
There are a variety of sauces (like pasta!). Some creamy sauces to serve with fresh pasta are alfredo sauce, homemade bechamel, garlic mushroom cream sauce, or a homemade cheese sauce like in this white mac and cheese.
Yes, you can substitute rigatoni for ziti in most recipes. Both are tubular-shaped pasta, but rigatoni is larger and has ridges, while ziti is smooth.
In general, rigatoni has a larger diameter than ziti. However, there can be some variations in the size and shape of both types of pasta depending on the brand and the region where they are made.
Ziti pasta is versatile and can be used in various dishes. It is great for baked pasta dishes such as baked ziti, pasta casseroles, and pasta bakes.
The main difference between them is their shape and texture. Ziti pasta is longer than penne pasta and has a smooth, cylindrical shape. Penne pasta is shorter and has a cylindrical shape with ridges along the outside.
No, ziti is not the same as penne. Ziti is a smooth, tube-shaped pasta that is cut straight across at the ends, while penne is cut diagonally and has ridges.
Etched pasta, such as penne or rigatoni, has ridges on the outside which help to hold the sauce better. Smooth pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine, is better for lighter sauces.