This easy Johnny Marzetti casserole is a traditional Ohio recipe that is a great make-ahead casserole for potlucks because it serves a crowd! This ground beef and sausage casserole is full of noodles, cheese and Italian flavor.
Johnny Marzetti Casserole
I’ve lived in Ohio all my life. I complain about the state often, mostly because of the strange weather we have. In all honestly though, I love that we can experience snow one week and 70 degrees the next. Yes, it wreaks havoc on my allergies and sinuses, but Ohio can be very pretty.
Traditional Ohio Recipes
I thought it would be fun to share a recipe that originated in Ohio. This Johnny Marzetti casserole comes from Marzetti’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The restaurant, founded in 1896 and run by Teresa Marzetti, regularly served their customers a ground beef and noodle casserole with cheese and tomato sauce. Casseroles often get a bad name, but everyone loved this casserole and the restaurant itself. Marzetti’s also became famous for their salad dressings, which you can still buy in grocery stores today!
Ground Beef Casserole
So what is Johnny Marzetti? Although I’m sure the recipe has changed from its original version over time, It’s really just a casserole with ground beef, sausage, noodles, tomatoes, cheese and a few chopped veggies. It has an Italian flair which my kids love. This recipe serves about 10-15. It’s a great make-ahead casserole or potluck dish. I doubled this recipe to serve our church group of about 25 people and still had some for leftovers the next night, so it definitely serves a crowd!
How to Make Johnny Marzetti
There are several steps to making this casserole, but I promise they are easy!
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Our elbow mac took about 7 minutes to al dente perfection.
- While the pasta is cooking, start browning the beef and sausage. Once it is browned and crumbly, drain off any fat, then add all of the veggies, spices and flavor. Cook the mixture for an additional 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Add the tomato sauce and tomatoes.
- Then you start layering! This will completely fill a 9×13 pan. I use a pan that is just ever so slightly bigger than 9×13 to be sure there is plenty of room.
- Here’s the layers: Pasta, Italian cheese and meat sauce.
- You’ll cover the pan with foil and bake the casserole for 45 minutes. Then remove the foil and sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top. Bake again until the cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes.
- If you’d like the cheese to be slightly crisp and brown, broil the casserole on low for 3 minutes. Be sure to watch it closely though!
Johnny Marzetti Recipe with Egg Noodles
If you’d like you can swap out the pasta noodles for egg noodles and cook just the same as shown below. Feel free to use other shapes of pasta, too.
What to Serve with Johnny Marzetti
Other Casserole Recipes
- Amish Yumasetti Casserole
- Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole
- Egg Potato Casserole
- Baked Ziti Casserole
- Lasagna Noodle Casserole
Tools to Make This Recipe
- Cast Iron Skillet: Why do I always think everything tastes better when it is cooked in a cast iron skillet?!
- Cheese Grater: I 100% recommend grating fresh cheese for this recipe. This cheese grater makes it easier than ever!
- Ninja Express Chop: Mini food processor for chopping veggies. This is one of my most-used kitchen tools!
Johnny Marzetti Recipe
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 14.4 ounces diced tomatoes (with juice)
- 23 ounces tomato sauce (1 15 ounce can and 1 8 ounce can)
- 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions until it is al dente (about 6-8 minutes).
- Drain the pasta and run cold water over it. Set aside.
- Brown the ground beef and sausage in a skillet over medium heat until it is completely browned and crumbly. Drain off any fat.
- Add the onion, pepper, garlic, oregano, worcestershire sauce, sugar, pepper flakes and garlic salt. Cook and stir for an additional 5 minutes to soften the vegetables.
- Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Spray a large casserole dish (9x13 size or slightly larger) with cooking spray.
- Spread the pasta over the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle the Italian cheese blend over the pasta.
- Spread the meat sauce over the pasta and cheese.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the foil, sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the casserole and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.