Ziti gets its name from zita, or zito, in Italian dialect, which translates to bride or groom. That’s because traditionally, in places like Naples, this smooth, hollow, tubular shape was reserved for special occasions such as banquets and weddings. In early days, long tubes of ziti would be broken by hand into bite-size pieces before going into the pot. Today it’s one of the most popular pasta shapes in the world, served in almost every fashion, from al forno-style baked dishes to fresh and simple preparations.
Here is a one of our favorite ziti recipes, from our friends at NC State University. It’s an Italian-American take on Bolognese, swapping in chicken for the protein and bringing together the classic pairing of ziti and provolone cheese in a baked application. You can also use ziti as a substitute for recipes with mostaccioli (aka penne lisce), or any dish that calls for penne or rigatoni.