Johnny Marzetti Recipe

Last Updated on May 6, 2022 by Ellen Christian

Check out this Johnny Marzetti recipe and learn how to make a Johnny Marzetti casserole from your favorite Italian restaurant.

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Check out this Johnny Marzetti recipe and learn how to make a Johnny Marzetti casserole from your favorite Italian restaurant.

Johnny Marzetti Recipe

This easy ground beef casserole is everything you need for one of the best recipes I’ve ever tried. Some people call it an American Goulash, but you can serve good food the entire family will enjoy with just a few ingredients.

Where Johnny Marzetti casserole originated

No one is quite sure, but restaurants have been dishing it up for years. The dish is made with ground beef, macaroni noodles, and a delicious tomato sauce. You can add some shredded cheese on top for extra flavor or even serve it with garlic bread on the side.

Some people think that it originated from the Marzetti company. This casserole is meant for sharing.

According to the Ohio History Center, Teresa Marzetti created this recipe. Have you heard of Marzetti dressing? That was family Marzetti.

The Marzetti families were Italians who arrived in Columbus to open up a new Italian restaurant. This Marzetti restaurant is located in the center of downtown Ohio.

Johnny Marzetti was created as an inexpensive but delicious way to feed local families.

I grew up eating this in the 1970s in Connecticut, and it was a family favorite.

a piece of Johnny Marzetti on a white plate near a casserole pan

What is Johnny Machete from Gilmore Girls?

This ground beef casserole gained popularity after being referred to as Johnny Machete on the Gilmore Girls program.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can prepare it in advance and then bake it later. That means you can come home to a hot, homemade meal without extra effort.

ingredients in clear glass bowls

Ingredients for this pasta dish

  • 2 cups dry penne pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • One green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
  • Medium (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, as desired
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped garlic (optional)

close up of a ground beef casserole

Can I use another type of pasta?

Yes. Some versions of this recipe use egg noodles. But, any pasta noodles or even elbow macaroni will work in this baked casserole. Follow the package directions for cooking the pasta.

Do I need to add diced tomatoes?

My husband is not a fan of diced tomatoes. So, if you’d prefer to leave them out, you can. It just won’t be authentic. Instead, you might want to add tomato paste.

Meat variations

Traditionally, when you make Johnny Marzetti, ground beef is used. It’s often referred to as American chop suey. But, you can use ground turkey or even ground pork when you make Johnny Marzetti.

Or, you can use a meat mixture of several types. If you use ground turkey, you may need to add olive oil to the pan.

browning ground beef and vegetables in a pan

What supplies do I need to make the Johnny Marzetti recipe?

You only need a few basic kitchen supplies to make this ground beef casserole.

  • Large casserole dish
  • Ground beef tool masher (an absolute must)
  • Large pot
  • A large skillet
  • Cooking spray (optional)

ground beef and tomato sauce casserole

Optional add ins

You can add any of these when you make my Johnny Marzetti recipe.

  • More bell peppers or green pepper
  • Extra shredded cheddar cheese or Italian cheese blend
  • Italian sausage
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Green olives
  • Kidney beans
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Other types of cheese

Check out this Johnny Marzetti recipe and learn how to make a Johnny Marzetti casserole from your favorite Italian restaurant.

Types of cheese for Johnny Marzetti casserole

  • Shredded Italian cheese blend
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese

cooking beef and vegetables in a pot

Johnny Marzetti recipe directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta al dente or according to package directions. Do not overcook, as the pasta will continue cooking in the oven. Drain well.

In a large (12 inch) skillet or dutch oven, brown the ground beef with the onions and bell peppers, crumbling the ground beef as it cooks until the meat is completely browned. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until the mushrooms are softened. Drain well, and then return the mixture to the skillet.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper, and seasonings to the meat and vegetables. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Combine the meat sauce with the cooked noodles or pasta in the pasta pot. Stir in half of the shredded cheddar cheese. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake the Johnny Marzetti pasta casserole for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and top with the remaining cheddar cheese or Italian cheese blend. Continue to bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Check out this Johnny Marzetti recipe and learn how to make a Johnny Marzetti casserole from your favorite Italian restaurant.

What to serve with Johnny Marzetti casserole

Try one of these if you want to serve a side dish when you make this Johnny Marzetti recipe.

  • Green salad with Marzetti salad dressings
  • Garlic bread
  • Breadsticks

This is a great recipe for crowds. So, if you want to serve good food to everyone at a potluck or family dinner, I hope you’ll try this Johnny Marzetti recipe.

Try this three cheese ravioli lazy lasagna next.

Yield: 6

Johnny Marzetti Recipe

Check out this Johnny Marzetti recipe and learn how to make a Johnny Marzetti casserole from your favorite Italian restaurant.

Check out this Johnny Marzetti recipe and learn how to make a Johnny Marzetti casserole from your favorite Italian restaurant.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry penne pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • One green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
  • Medium (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, as desired
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped garlic (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook, as the pasta will continue cooking in the oven. Drain well.
  3. In a large (12 inch) skillet or dutch oven, brown the ground beef with the onions and bell peppers, crumbling the beef as it cooks until the meat is no longer pink. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until the mushrooms are softened. Drain well and then return the mixture to the skillet.
  4. To the meat and vegetables, add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  5. In the pasta pot, combine the meat sauce with the pasta. Stir in half of the cheese. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
  6. Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and top with the remaining cheese. Continue baking for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 748Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 180mgSodium: 982mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 54g

Did you make this recipe?

If you make this, tag me on Instagram so I can see @ellenblogs

2 thoughts on “Johnny Marzetti Recipe”

  1. Thanks, Debbie! I have made it with a combination of plain cheddar and plain monterey jack so if you cannot find the flavored Cabot, try that.
    Reply
  2. This sounds yummy! I will have to see if I can find the tomato basil cheese around here. Thank you for sharing another great recipe with us!

    Take Care and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Debbie
    Reply

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