Setaro’s ziti corti is the best version we’ve ever found of one of the oldest and most well-known pasta shapes. Ziti’s history can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when baked pastas were the fashionable dish of choice for royal banquets and feasts. Ziti was the shape of choice because its sturdy tubes, which captured sauce and wouldn’t get mushy in the oven—and at that time, there weren’t many other shapes to choose from!
There are a few theories about the origin of its name that all involve weddings. Some say it comes from zito, which means "bride" or "groom" in the Sicilian dialect. Others say it’s derived from zitella, which was the word for a single woman. The pasta was served at the wedding to mark the bride’s last moments as a zitella. No matter what you’re celebrating, ziti is always a good choice.
Since 1939, the Setaro family have been making pasta on a winding street in Torre Annunziata in Naples. Their factory is on the same street, in fact, where Giada's grandfather once made his own pasta. The semolina flour they use is minimally processed, creating a more flavorful product than those commonly found in the U.S. The company air-dries its pasta in the cool, salt-tinged breezes that blow in through wild rosemary bushes from the Mediterranean coast, a practice that makes for a delightfully chewy finished product.