Johnny Marzetti Recipe

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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.

Today I’m sharing another recipe that originated in my home state of Ohio (like our Ohio shredded chicken sandwiches). This recipe for Johnny Marzetti Casserole comes from Marzetti’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio (home of THE Ohio State University).

The restaurant, founded in 1896 and run by Italian immigrant Teresa Marzetti, regularly served their customers a ground beef and noodle casserole with cheese and tomato sauce. And today you know them for their salad dressings!

macaroni and beef casserole with cheese on top

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Reader Tami says, “This recipe is delicious. I did not have the canned diced tomatoes or green peppers on hand so I substituted two cans ( 10 oz. each) of mild Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies”

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Reader Danielle says, “I mean serisouly, who doesn’t love a casserole? I love stuff like this. Easy to make, and perfect for potlucks. Or just for me to eat with a fork right out of the pan. YUM!”

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Reader Molly says, “This was such a wonderful blast from the past! Excellent version. We made it with ground venison and it was perfect. 💗”

About Johnny Marzetti Casserole:

  • Flavor: This Johnny Marzetti recipe is similar to American goulash in flavor, but it has an Italian flair thanks to the Italian sausage, tomatoes, oregano and garlic. If your family loves a flavorful spaghetti, they’ll love this casserole, too.
  • Texture: This beef macaroni casserole recipe is loaded with texture, thanks to the pasta, tomatoes, and veggies. It’s not so much that kids won’t like it.
  • Method: This recipe bakes in a 9×13″ baking pan. If you have a deep dish casserole, that’s even better. The pan will be very full.
a plate of johnny marzetti beef and macaroni

This easy Johnny Marzetti recipe serves about 10-15 people. 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!

Ingredients

ingredients for johnny marzetti on a table

How to Make Johnny Marzetti

There are several steps to making this casserole, but I promise they are easy. You’ll have this on the table in no time.

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente pasta. Our elbow mac took about 7 minutes. Choose any pasta shape you’d like (penne pasta is our second favorite).
water pouring over cooked pasta in a colander
  • While the pasta is cooking, start browning the beef and ground pork sausage in a large skillet. 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 start layering. This will completely fill a 9×13″ baking dish. I use a pan that is just ever so slightly bigger than 9×13” to be sure there is plenty of room. Layer cooked noodles, Italian cheese and meat sauce.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum 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!
overhead view of johnny marzetti casserole with a spoon

Recipe Variations

  • Noodles. Swap out the pasta noodles for egg noodles and cook just the same as shown below.
  • Veggies. Add other ingredients such as black or green olives, mushrooms or zucchini.
  • Meats. Use up whatever meat you have in your freezer. Ground turkey, ground chicken or even venison.
about tastes of lizzy t

What to Serve with Johnny Marzetti Casserole:

Storage

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. This casserole also freezes well for up to 6 weeks.

overhead view of johnny marzetti casserole recipe
overhead view of johnny marzetti casserole recipe

Johnny Marzetti Recipe

4.72 from 52 votes
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.
Servings 15
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

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Ingredients
 

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell 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 (1 can with juice)
  • 23 ounces tomato sauce (1-15 ounce can and 1-8 ounce can)
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • fresh parsley for garnishing

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Cook the macaroni in a large pot according to package directions until it is al dente (about 6-8 minutes). 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 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. 1 pound ground beef, ½ pound mild Italian sausage
  • Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, pepper flakes and garlic salt. Cook and stir for an additional 5 minutes to soften the vegetables. ¾ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir well. 14.4 ounces diced tomatoes, 23 ounces tomato sauce
  • Spray a large casserole dish (9×13 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. 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 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. (Place under the broiler on low for a minute or two to get the top browned, if desired. 1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Garnish with fresh parsley.

Video

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe making 15 servings, with 1 serving about ¾ cup to 1 cup of casserole. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.

Nutrition

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 551mg | Potassium: 395mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 354IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 280
Keyword easy casserole recipe, ground beef casserole, ohio recipe

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About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Peggy
1 year ago

5 stars
Made this many a way and it’s always delightful!!!

Tami Toppen
2 years ago

5 stars
This recipe is delicious. I did not have the canned diced tomatoes or green peppers on hand so I substituted two cans ( 10 oz. Each) of mild Rotel diced tomatoes and green chili’s.

Dianne
3 years ago

Can I make this ahead of time?

Mary
4 years ago

Have you ever tried to freeze half the recipe? Do you think it would be ok to freeze? Thinking it’d be easier to freeze half to use another time than to halve the ingredients.

Molly H
4 years ago

5 stars
This was such a wonderful blast from the past! Excellent version. We made it with ground venison and it was perfect. 💗

Karen jones
6 years ago

5 stars
Really enjoyed reading this article! I was born and raised in Columbus Ohio and my mom often made Johnny marzetti. She got the recipe from the Marzetti restaurant in downtown Columbus after WW2 in the 40s. And the wonderful salad dressing with the same name. You brought back memories!

2pots2cook
6 years ago

5 stars
Love this version ! Thank you !

Karen Day-Lyon
6 years ago

Love me some Johnny Marzetti. My grandfather was a good friend of theirs when they were all still alive. Went into the restaurant at least once a week, and still make this once a month.

Danielle
6 years ago

5 stars
I mean serisouly, who doesn’t love a casserole? I love stuff like this. Easy to make, and perfect for potlucks. Or just for me to eat with a fork right out of the pan. YUM!