Until last week, I had never before encountered the term "ziti". I had heard of zits but not "ziti". Consequently, I was obliged to look it up - "pasta in the form of tubes resembling large macaroni". Further to this, in Italian it apparently means "macaroni of the bride" because it traditionally appears at wedding feasts - especially in southern Italy.
I came across the word on Catalyst's blog that comes to us from Prescott Valley, Arizona. Catalyst (i.e. Bruce) had created something called baked ziti which is probably familiar to most North American visitors. However, though many British supermarkets boast fairly wide ranges of pasta, I have never before seen any ziti for sale. Penne yes, macaroni yes but no ziti.
Earlier today I bought some pasta spirali that I guessed would be a good substitute for ziti. Spirali is essentially little curved tubes. I had it mind to replicate Bruce's dish. I had made a nice bolognaise sauce on Monday afternoon which we ate with spaghetti that evening but there was plenty left over to mix through my boiled spirali.
One of the things that struck me about baked ziti recipes was the use of dollops of ricotta cheese on top of the meaty pasta before smothering with grated cheddar and placing in the oven. It was said that this would add a nice creaminess to the topping and indeed it did
We ate it with a little side salad and Lady Pudding approved saying on Trip Advisor, "Mmm... I liked that! Very nice!" ★★★★★. Thanks for the idea Mr Catalyst.