I love recipes with a story. I have to say I have never heard of this casserole recipe. The dish originated in Columbus, Ohio, at Marzetti’s, an Italian restaurant established in 1896 on Broad St. by an Italian immigrant named Teresa Marzetti. One of the dishes Marzetti offered her customers was a baked casserole of ground beef, cheddar cheese, tomato sauce, and noodles that she named for her brother-in-law Johnny. It was very popular during WWII. The original restaurant closed in 1942, but a second location, opened in 1919 remained in operation until Teresa Marzetti died in 1972. She was also popular for her salad dressings, which you can still buy today. This recipe is very similar to Sour Cream Noodle Bake that I posted recently, minus the sour cream.
Johnny Marzetti Casserole
10 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
8 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ lb ground beef
2 Tbs finely chopped parsley
10 oz wide egg noodles
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
3 oz mozzarella, shredded
3 Tbs bread crumbs
Heat 3 Tbs oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Return skillet to heat with 3 Tbs oil; add mushrooms; cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add to bowl with onions; return skillet to heat with 2 Tbs oil. Add beef; cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Return onions and mushrooms to skillet along with oregano and tomatoes; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley; let sauce cool.
Heat oven to 325°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, and add noodles; cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and toss with butter in a bowl; set aside. Spread 2 cups sauce on bottom of a 9″× 13″ baking dish; cover with noodles. Spread ⅔ cheddar over noodles; top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheddar, mozzarella, and breadcrumbs over sauce; drizzle with remaining oil. Bake until browned
on top, about 25 minutes.