When we were kids growing up in the midwest, my mom made a popular dish called “Johnny Marzetti” that we adored! It’s a simple dish that was created as good food at cheap prices mostly designed for the starved college kids attending Ohio State University.
It all started back in 1896 when Italian immigrant Teresa Marzetti started serving it at her family’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, on Broad Street. This popular dish came to be known as “Johnny Marzetti” after her brother-in-law.
The simple dish consisting of ground beef, cheese, tomato sauce and noodles became an instant hit at only .45¢ a plate!
By the 1920’s, it was popular all across the midwest and started being served in public schools. It’s still the number one favorite fondly remembered and still served in public school lunchrooms all across the nation! Teresa’s original recipe is even preserved at the Ohio Historical Society!
Though Teresa and her restaurant are long gone, she is still remembered for her Marzetti Salad Dressings! And of course, this heart-warming, tummy-filling dish that sticks to your ribs and warms you from head to toe on cold winter’s days.
There are many variations and additions made by home cooks like me, and happy to share my version of Teresa’s “Johnny Marzetti”.
I still start with ground beef, but I really enjoy adding bell peppers, celery and onions to start.
I also like to add a little butter to help the next addition cook better – – some fresh sliced mushrooms!
Next to go in are some nice, sweet, stewed tomatoes!
Then the traditional tomato soup and part of the cheddar cheese!
I like to boil my egg noodles separately, drain them, then add them to the casserole.
Just gently fold in the mostly cooked noodles, pour into a casserole dish, and top with the rest of the cheese! 😀
Pop into a moderate oven and bake until happy and bubbly!
Simply serve with a side veggie or salad, some bread and butter, and you’re all set!
This makes a nice-sized casserole that’s perfect for the whole family or that potluck coming up that you need to fix a dish for! 😉
So if you’re browsing for an easy but delicious casserole to make for supper tonight, you’ve stumbled onto the right place!
You, too, can adjust to your own family’s liking, adding and omitting the extra ingredients to the basic recipe, so that everyone at the table is happy! And believe me, there will lots ‘n lots of smiles! 😀 😉
Hope you enjoy! Take care and I’ll see you soon! ~Kelly
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 4 Tbl. butter
- ⅛ tsp. garlic salt
- ¼ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. oregano
- a fourth to a half of a small onion, chopped (to taste)
- 1 rib celery, sliced or chopped
- 1 bell pepper, medium diced, (any color or mixed)
- 1 (8 oz.) carton fresh sliced mushrooms
- ¼ tsp. minced garlic
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, I prefer Hunt's
- 2 (10¾ oz.) cans tomato soup, (undiluted)
- ½ Tbl. dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbl. heavy cream
- 1½ cups shredded extra sharp cheddar
- 4 - 4½ cups uncooked extra-wide egg noodles
- 2½ more cups shredded cheddar for top
- In large deep frying pan, sauté first 8 ingredients. When almost done, stir in mushrooms and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes longer.
- Stir in cans of stewed tomatoes and tomato soup, dark brown sugar, heavy cream, and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Simmer over medium-low heat (low as it thickens) for 20-25 minutes to reduce and cook out any excess moisture/water, stirring occasionally as needed. Cover and set aside.
- Cook noodles until almost done, drain and fold into cheesy beef mixture. (I only did mine for 5 minutes - - one minute less than the lowest recommended cooking time on the package.)
- Pour into sprayed 13x9 baking dish and cover with foil.
- Pop into preheated 350º oven and bake for 20 minutes (covered with foil). Top with the 2½ cups cheese and bake for another 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese on top has melted. (*Time depends on how done and browned you like your cheese.)