Alternative namesBoccolotti, zitoni, zituane, candele, ziti candelati
Place of originItaly
Region or state
Main ingredientsDurum wheat flour, water

Ziti (Italian: [ˈdziːti]), also zite (Italian: [ˈdziːte]), are a shape of extruded pasta originating from the Italian regions of Campania and Sicily.[1][2] They are shaped into long, wide tubes, about 25 cm (9.8 inches) long, that need to be broken by hand into smaller pieces before cooking. Ziti have similarities to bucatini, but are much thicker.


Ziti is the plural form of zita and zitu, respectively meaning 'bride' and 'groom' in Sicilian. For this reason, ziti may also be rendered as zite in Italian (with the regular plural form for feminine nouns in -a).[2]

In the crime-drama series The Sopranos, the phrase box of ziti is used as a euphemism for one thousand dollars. This term has spread to become colloquial in New York.[3][4][5] The term was used in Albany by Andrew Cuomo during the sentencing of Percoco v. United States in February 2018.[6][7]

Composition and usage

Ziti strands are made of long and wide tubes, each being around 25 cm (9.8 inches). Ziti has similarities to bucatini, rigatoni and penne.[8][9] Ziti are created from durum wheat flour and water.[10]

They are also used to make pasta alla Norma.[11]

In Sicily, they are traditionally served at a wedding feast.[2]

There’s also zitoni, or zitone, which are a thicker cut than ziti, being in-between ziti and rigatoni.[12][13]


Baked ziti

Baked ziti with tomato sauce and cheese

Baked ziti is a casserole with ziti pasta and a Neapolitan-style tomato sauce. It is characteristic of Italian-American cuisine.[14][15] It is a form of pasta al forno.

Typically, the pasta is first boiled separately until it is nearly, but not completely, done. The almost-cooked pasta is added to a tomato-based sauce. The tomato-coated pasta is then combined with cheese, typically a mixture of ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Other ingredients can be added with the cheese, such as ground meat, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, and onions. The combined ingredients are placed in a baking dish, covered with mozzarella cheese, baked in the oven and served hot.[16] If unavailable, ziti can be substituted with other tubular pastas such as penne or rigatoni.

See also


  1. ^ "MAP OF NAPLES AND CAMPANIA", Medieval Naples, Italica Press, p. 344, doi:10.2307/j.ctt1tqxvx6.14, retrieved 2023-06-29
  2. ^ a b c Oretta Zanini (2009). Encyclopedia of Pasta. University of California Press. pp. 315–316. ISBN 978-0-520-94471-8.
  3. ^ McKinley, Jesse; Wang, Vivian (2018-02-27). "'This Is How Criminals Talk': Closing Arguments Focus on Ziti". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  4. ^ James, Caryn (2000-01-14). "TV WEEKEND; The Ziti's in the Oven and the Matriarch's Still Not Dead". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  5. ^ Wynn, Neil A. (2004). Barreca, Regina; Bishop, David; Chase, David; Gabbard, Glen O.; Rucker, Allen; Simon, David R.; Lavery, David (eds.). "Counselling the Mafia: "The Sopranos"". Journal of American Studies. 38 (1): 127–132. doi:10.1017/S0021875804007947. ISSN 0021-8758. JSTOR 27557467.
  6. ^ Wolfe, Jonathan (2018-02-06). "New York Today: Hold the Ziti". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  7. ^ Jesse Mckinley; Benjamin Weiser (2018-02-07). "In Albany, Percoco Secretly Strained to Keep the 'Ziti' Flowing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  8. ^ Bretagnolle, Anne (2002-05-22). "Le Bras H., 2000, Essai de géométrie sociale, Paris, Editions Odile Jacob". Cybergeo: European Journal of Geography (in French). doi:10.4000/cybergeo.869. ISSN 1278-3366.
  9. ^ "Ziti and Zitoni Pasta". 3 August 2017.
  10. ^ Fabricant, Florence (2003-01-15). "FOOD STUFF; From Abalone To Ziti, The Language Of Food". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  11. ^ Rosso, Julee; Lukins, Sheila (1989). The new basics cookbook. Internet Archive. New York : Workman Pub. ISBN 978-0-89480-341-3.
  12. ^ Sinclair, Charles (2009-01-01). Dictionary of Food: International Food and Cooking Terms from A to Z. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-4081-0218-3.
  13. ^ "FoodData Central". fdc.nal.usda.gov. Retrieved 2023-11-11.
  14. ^ Oseland, James (2011-04-20). Saveur: The New Comfort Food - Home Cooking from Around the World. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0811878012.
  15. ^ Lidia Matticchio Bastianich; Tanya Bastianich Manuali (2011-10-25). Lidia's Italy in America. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0307595676.
  16. ^ "Baked Ziti Recipe". NYT Cooking. Retrieved 2023-06-27.