Brrrrrrrrrr!!!! It’s cold outside!!! It’s 0 degrees with -13 degree wind chill as I write this with forecaster’s predicting -10 degrees for tonight. Single digit days and negative nights ~ that’s the Midwest for you…
These are the days to warm up from the inside out and Johnny Marzetti is a perfect dish for doing just that. Mom cooked this great dish in the winter when I was growing and it was one of my favorite meals. It was originally a dish of few ingredients; mainly elbow macaroni with tomato sauce, ground beef and cheese. Now, it’s like gossip with the changes cooks make.
I was born in Columbus, Ohio so I am proud that Ohio lays claim to Johnny Marzetti. The dish originated in Columbus in the 1940’s by the owner of Marzetti’s restaurant and was named after his brother Johnny. It spread to other parts of the United States as variations of the recipe were published in magazines and cookbooks during the mid-20th century.
The Johnny Marzetti concoction I make now includes diced tomatoes, sliced green olives, chopped green peppers and sliced mushrooms with a massive amount of cheese. It’s warming and comforting on these cold winter nights!
¾ pound elbow macaroni
1½ pounds lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon pepper, salt optional
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can Hunts diced roasted garlic tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
½ cup salad olives
1 (8-ounce) can sliced mushrooms
1 cup Velveeta cheese, sliced into chunks
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (for topping)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain well and set aside.
Place ground meat in a large skillet and break it up with a spatula.
Add onions, pepper and garlic powder, combining well.
Sauté until meat is cooked through and onions are tender.
Remove from skillet and drain well.
In a large bowl to accommodate all the ingredients, mix the meat with all of the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the cheddar cheese.
Grease a large baking dish. *
Place mixture in baking dish.
Spread shredded cheddar cheese over top.
Bake for about 40 minutes until heated through.
Remove foil and continue baking for about 5 minutes until cheese melts and it starts to brown a little around the edges.
* I use my 3-quart Le Creuset Au Gratin baking dish so as to have a larger surface to spread the cheddar cheese on top.
You will feel the love when eating this savory dish!
Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway!