Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Johnny Mazetti: A Casserole from a vintage cookbook

We had this homey casserole dish for dinner last night- kind of like spaghetti or Lasagna.. I found the recipe in a 1965 cookbook from Hastings Nebraska called Daughters of the Nile.

What is the Dish Johnny Marzetti, I wondered?

Wikipedia says this:

Johnny Marzetti is a baked pasta dish, or casserole, consisting of noodles, tomato sauce, ground beef, and cheese. Other ingredients and seasonings may be added to adjust the taste. The dish originated in Columbus, Ohio, at the Marzetti restaurant, and 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 dish is still served in Ohio, especially at social gatherings and in school lunchrooms.

Johnny Marzetti also gained a great deal of popularity in the Panama Canal Zone, where it was served at social occasions and on holidays since at least the early WWII era. The Canal Zone version of the dish typically includes celery and green olives, and is almost always spelled "Johnny Mazetti" by Zonians. The importance of Johnny Mazetti to the culture of the Canal Zone was such that most Zonians are unaware of the origin of the dish and are surprised to learn that it did not originate there.

Johnny mazetti

1/2 pound chopped onion
1/2 pound chopped green peppers
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 cup diced celery
2 pounds ground beef
1 can tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
salt, pepper, and favorite herbs
1 can spaghetti sauce
1 can mushrooms
1 small jar stuffed green olives
1/4 pound grated yellow cheese
1 pkg wide noodles

Fry onions, peppers, celery and garlic in oil. Then add and fry ground beef and seasonings. Add sauces and tomatoes, mushrooms and diced olives. Simmer 15 minutes. Add cooked noodles. Mix. Put in a large flat pan and cover with grated cheese. Bake in a slow oven 30 minutes.

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