Friday, April 1, 2011
Have you heard of Johnny Marzetti before? It's a dish that we ate for school lunches back when I was in school.
Where did the name come from? According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette website, Johnny Marzetti is a casserole created in the 1920s by the owner of the Marzetti Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. Who was Johnny Marzetti? According to the "American Century Cookbook" by Jean Anderson, Johnny Marzetti was the brother of the owner of the Marzetti Restaurant.
Casseroles steamrolled into the kitchen in the 1940s and have remained popular staples to this day. The Johnny Marzetti casserole was popular in the mid '50s and early '60s. It consists of meat, pasta and either tomato sauce, soup or juice.
My husband and I were talking about school lunches and comparing them to what our kids eat in school now. I decided to look up a recipe for Johnny Marzetti to see if I could duplicate the school's recipe. Did I duplicate it? No, not exactly. But the dish that I created was delicious. Like chili, it tastes even better warmed up as leftovers. The recipe that I remember had more of a spaghetti sauce sort of taste with no onion and peppers showing in it. Some say the original recipe contains cheese but I don't ever remember cheese in what I ate. There's also a controversy over whether or not it was made with egg noodles or elbow macaroni. It was always elbows for us.
This was a nice trip down memory lane.
1 pound ground chuck
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 teaspoon oil
1 large can tomatoes (29 ounces)
1 large can tomato juice
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Garlic salt, to taste
Brown meat, onion and green pepper in oil.
Drain, then add tomatoes, tomato juice and spices.
Add cooked macaroni to sauce. Simmer 10 minutes and serve.
Store any leftovers in a sealed container. It's even better the next day!