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Penne Ziti and Rigatoni Know the Difference

Penne, Ziti, and Rigatoni: Know the Difference

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The reason we have chosen the three pastas – Penne, Ziti, and Rigatoni is because their tubular shape can confuse the best of us. The three pastas are cylindrical and hollow pastas made via the extrusion process, which involves the dough being forced through a die to get the required shape. Their big surface areas make them perfect for meaty sauces as well as simpler ones such as arrabbiata and pesto. Penne pasta is more popular than ziti or rigatoni in India – but as more and more of us are getting acquainted with the food wonders of the world, we are learning about the many other ‘not so common’ foods out there.


An average piece of penne pasta is 0.4 inches wide, 1 mm thick, and is about 2.12 inches in length.

“Penne” is derived from the Italian word for ‘quill,’ and it is obvious why it would have this name. Just like its namesake, penne pasta’s edges are cut at an angle, lending it a significantly large surface area to draw the pasta sauces into the tubes. Penne can be ridged or smooth, and since the ridged ones are sturdier and soak up more sauce than their smoother counterparts, they are preferred.

Recipes using this pasta shape include creamy pesto penne pasta, penne with chicken ragu, and penne arrabbiata.


The average length of Ziti is around 10 inches. It is 0.4 inches wide and has a wall thickness of 1.25 mm.

This pasta is a straight-cut pasta that hails from Campania. It has a smooth texture and is longer than penne. Ziti pasta gets its name from the word ‘zito’ which means ‘bridegroom’ and is traditionally served in a wedding lunch as the first course. This tubular pasta is often stuffed and baked, unlike penne that is used in salads or with a pasta sauce.


Rigatoni is 1.8 inches long, 0.6 inches wide, and has a wall thickness of 1 mm.

Another tubular-shaped pasta, Rigatoni is slightly shorter than penne and wider than both ziti and penne. Rigatoni can be slightly curved (not as curved as elbow macaroni) or straight, depending on the process of extrusion. This pasta is not smooth and has straight ends like ziti. “Rigatoni” gets its name from the Italian word “rigare,” meaning “to rule” or “to furrow”.

Out of all the three pastas, rigatoni is the best to hold chunky and meaty sauces, both inside and outside the tube. The ridges play a role in soaking up all the extra sauce as well. No matter what pasta you choose, make sure you cook it ‘al dente’ to get that extra bite; don’t overcook it. Whether you are looking for green tea online or the best durum wheat pasta in penne, fusilli, or elbow macaroni shape, Wingreens World has a range of curated food and beverages and do their best to retain the inherent freshness and nutrients of their items. What are you waiting for? Grab your favourite shape of pasta and get cooking – Pasta la vista baby!

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