ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Johnny Marzetti Recipe

Updated on September 9, 2014

What is Johnny Marzetti?

Johnny Marzetti is a pasta dish with ground meat in a tomato sauce, served over noodles and covered with cheese. The recipe originated at the Marzetti Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio in the 1920s. The adaptability of the Johnny Marzetti recipe no doubt gave rise to its developing popularity during the Great Depression. By World War II, Johnny Marzetti had spread as far as Texas and the Panama Canal.

Baby boomers who grew up in Ohio will recognize Marzetti from their school cafeteria menus. Others will know this dish by different names, such as goulash, hot dish or baked spaghetti.

This Great Depression recipe was in my Aunt Susy's collection. It serves 14 people, so either invite a crowd or count on plenty of leftovers!

Photo credit

Arturo Sauce for Johnny Marzetti

Arturo sauce makes all the difference in this recipe. It is very hard to find in the stores, but you can order it from Amazon and have it delivered to your door. Try it in place of tomato sauce in your other favorite recipes. You will be amazed at what it does to your food!

Arturo Original Gourmet Sauce with Mushrooms 8 OZ (Pack of 2)
Arturo Original Gourmet Sauce with Mushrooms 8 OZ (Pack of 2)

Be sure to check the reviews for this product. Cooks give it five stars!

 

Johnny Marzetti Recipe

Johnny Marzetti Recipe

Start by preparing 12 ounces of broad egg noodles according to package. If you do not have egg noodles, substitute whatever pasta you have on hand: spaghetti, shells, macaroni, fettuccine.

While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork (this recipe specifies ground pork shoulder)

Brown the meat, then mix in the following ingredients and cook five minutes.

  • 2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 can mushrooms & juice (6 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup green olives
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 3 small cans tomato sauce

After the sauce has cooked for five minutes, mix in the pasta, then cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour.

At the end of the hour, remove from oven, cover with 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Return to oven without cover until cheese is melted.

Johnny Marzetti Poll I

Do you recall this dish from your childhood (known perhaps by a different name)?

See results

Other Versions of the Johnny Marzetti Recipe

Johnny Marzetti is a very flexible recipe, and the dish seems to have taken on a life of its own as mothers across Ohio adapted it to use what they had on hand. From grandmothers who made the sauce using only ketchup and brown sugar, to moms who used this dish to clean out the refrigerator, it seems this is one adaptable casserole!

Check out some of these versions!

More Johnny Marzetti & Other Italian-American Dishes

If you love Johnny Marzetti, you must check out this cookbook full of delicious recipes in the Italian-American tradition.

The Italian American Cookbook: A Feast of Food from a Great American Cooking Tradition
The Italian American Cookbook: A Feast of Food from a Great American Cooking Tradition

250 tested recipes from Italian restaurants and the kitchens of Italian-American grandmothers. Great reviews!

 

Johnny Marzetti Recipe in Best of Ohio Cookbook

If you hunger for the traditional recipes of Ohio, then this is the cookbook for you. Over 300 recipes are included.

Best of the Best from Ohio Cookbook: Selected Recipes from Ohio's Favorite Cookbooks
Best of the Best from Ohio Cookbook: Selected Recipes from Ohio's Favorite Cookbooks

From Cincinnati Chili to Johnny Marzetti, all of these recipes are delicious and easy to prepare.

 

Frugal Meals for A Crowd - Johnny Marzetti & much more

Feeding a crowd just got a lot more economical and healthier too! This cookbook tells you how to make food for a potluck or church supper for under $3 a serving.

$3 Make-and-Take Meals: Delicious, Low-Cost Dishes for Picnics, Potlucks, and Brown-Bagging It
$3 Make-and-Take Meals: Delicious, Low-Cost Dishes for Picnics, Potlucks, and Brown-Bagging It

See this author's other books on $3 meals! That's less than a burger from a fast food joint and faster than pizza delivery. A lot healthier too! Buy three in a bundle and save!

 

How to Make Homemade Tomato Sauce - for your Johnny Marzetti recipe

If you do not want to used canned tomato sauce in your Johnny Marzetti, you might consider making your own from fresh tomatoes. Here Clara shows us how they made tomato sauce during the Great Depression.

A Vintage Baking Dish for Your Johnny Marzetti

A Vintage Baking Dish for Your Johnny Marzetti - A casserole dish like Grandma's

Serve your Johnny Marzetti in a casserole dish like Grandma's for even more nostalgia and authenticity!

Serve Your Side Dishes in a Vintage Casserole Dish

What will you serve in this adorable 700 ml (about 3 cups) Corningware casserole dish? These casseroles were around when I was growing up in the 1970s. This dish is too small to serve your Johnny Marzetti, but is perfect for some sides. Baked apples, steamed corn or broccoli, green beans. What will you serve in yours?

Corning Ware Blue Cornflower 700 ml Handled Pan -- P-43-B
Corning Ware Blue Cornflower 700 ml Handled Pan -- P-43-B

An authentic vintage casserole like the one Mom had. This is no longer available new, but several Amazon sellers have it for sale.

 

Johnny Marzetti Poll II

What do you call this dish?

See results

Did your mom or grandma serve this dish? Did you call it Johnny Marzetti or something else? Do you remember this from your school lunchroom? What ingredients were used? Do you make it for your family?

You do not need to register with Squidoo to post a comment. Comment as a guest or use your Facebook account! I love to hear from my readers!

Share your Johnny Marzetti Memories!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      |Never heard of this dish before, but it does sound delicious.

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Just added this lens to Pinterest. Are you on it?

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 5 years ago from USA

      This has been a favorite in our home for a long time. Loved Clara's video about how to make Depression Tomato Sauce.

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 5 years ago from Vancouver

      Never heard of Johnny Marzetti but I made Baked Spaghetti often when serving many people. I used my large roasting pan back in the 'old days' :) Great to put together early and then bake just before serving. (Gave me a chance to clean up my kitchen before company came)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      Funny - I have that exact Corningware casserole dish but from 1940s! Great lens. My boyfriend loves cheese so I'm bookmarking for a dinner one snowy night.

    • profile image

      SandyPond 5 years ago

      Mmmmm, this looks really good and easy to make! I am a fan of the fire and forget sort of cooking and this is something I think we could make at home quickly! We made a similar sort of baked spaghetti dish last month, so it is about time to try a new one!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great idea that you put down on paper so to speak, enjoyed how you presented this and it brought back memories for me which I thank you for.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 5 years ago

      Buckeye born and bred, so yes, I grew up with Mom serving Johnny Marzetti often and yes, it was on the menu in the school cafeterias too! And, mom baked it in cast iron. And I do remember mom having the corning ware blue cornflower baking dishes. And, I still make this for myself on occasion, generally just like mom did, with elbow macaroni. Thanks for a trip down childhood memory lane! I'm saying a blessing over this meal...smiles.

    • profile image

      quickmealhelp 5 years ago

      My mom used to make a casserole that we grew up knowing as 'Johnny Marschetti' -- that's why your lens title/recipe caught my eye. I think my mom's version came from a newspaper column many decades ago -- it also had kidney or pinto beans it in and she used Velveeta cheese in it. Was very good! Will have to ask her if she still has the recipe. Thanks for a great lens!

    • sarahrk lm profile image

      sarahrk lm 5 years ago

      This looks really good, all good ingredients, what is there to be bad.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I didn't grow up eating this, but my mother-in-law made it. Now we have a version of it now and then. Very filling and warming.

    • Paladins profile image

      Paladins 4 years ago

      My Mom used to make this using Campbell's Tomato soup and Velveeta cheese and we always called it "Jon 'n Zetti", but hey, we were from Southern Ohio originally.

      I was born In Portsmouth Ohio, in Scioto County and they way the folks pronounce that down there is "Sow-Tee County". Yaw-hoo!

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 4 years ago from Cyprus

      Now this is a new recipe to me. I'll have to give it a try.

    • Kappygirl profile image

      Kappygirl 2 years ago

      I'm from Worthington and lived not too far from Marzetti's on Indianola! We had this growing up. Yum!

    Click to Rate This Article