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Johnny Marzetti Casserole

Johnny Marzetti Casserole is a hearty ground beef Italian casserole with lots of cheese and a thick, rich tomato sauce.

Spoon scooping up Johnny Marzetti Casserole in a 9x13-inch dish.


What is Johhny Marzetti Casserole?

It originated at the Italian restaurant Marzetti’s in Columbus, Ohio and it is pure pasta comfort food. This version has a meaty pasta sauce, plus pepperoni. It also has bell pepper, onion, and 3 types of cheese: mozzarella, cheddar, and Parmesan.

It makes enough to feed a crowd and leftovers reheat well. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and reheat in the microwave.

The sauce is easy to make with a jar of pasta sauce (use your favorite) and a can of tomato paste. A full can of tomato paste gives it a rich tomato flavor that really stands up to all the cheese. For the pasta sauce, I like to use Classico Roasted Garlic, but any one will work. A little brown sugar in the sauce gives it just a hint of sweetness.

Casserole topped with pepperoni in baking dish.


Johnny Marzetti Casserole Recipe Tips:

For the pasta, my favorite is large elbow pasta but you can use penne, ziti, rotini, or egg noodles. You can use a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage if you want a little extra flavor.

Just cook the pasta to al dente since it will cook more in the oven.

The size of this casserole is huge and you can get a good 12 servings from it. It barely fits in a 9×13-inch pan so you can use a slightly larger one if you have one.

To round this meal out, serve with a garden salad with Creamy Italian dressing and Pepperoncini Garlic Bread.

Make Ahead Suggestions and Storage

The sauce can be made a day in advance and refrigerated. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days and reheated in the microwave.

Johnny Marzetti Casserole being scooped up with spoon.

Try These Other Pasta Casseroles:

Casserole in baking dish with a spoon scooping a serving.

Johnny Marzetti Casserole

Johnny Marzetti Casserole is a hearty ground beef Italian casserole with lots of cheese and a thick, rich tomato sauce.
PREP: 25 mins
COOK: 30 mins


  • 1 pound large elbow pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar pasta sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 40-50 pepperoni slices


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain well.
  • While water for pasta is coming to a boil, start cooking sauce.
    Brown and crumble ground beef in a large nonstick skillet.
    Drain off any grease.
  • Add onion and bell pepper and cook until soft.
  • Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute.
  • Add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, tomato paste, pasta sauce, and water.
    Simmer until thickened some. Remove from heat.
  • Place cooked pasta in the bottom of a greased 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • Sprinkle half the mozzarella and half the cheddar cheese on top of the noodles,
  • Spread sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese.
  • Sprinkle with half the Parmesan.
  • Scatter the pepperoni on top. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet in case there is any over flow.
    Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot.


Calories: 392kcal
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: ground beef, pasta

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6 thoughts on “Johnny Marzetti Casserole”

  1. Oooh, Mama Mia!!!!! Absolutely delicious!! I did not change this recipe at all; however, since I live alone, I made several small casseroles and I cooked and ate one, froze the others (before baking). Doing it my way probably needed more cheese but it was well worth it. I highly recommend this recipe!!!

  2. Ezequiel Gonzalez

    Feeds a million people and has a homemade taste! I’d recommend Italian sausage and beef though for sure!

  3. Janet Bradley

    Soooo much wanna make this recipe love everything but that pasta. Do you think I could use orzo instead?
    If so, approximately how much. There is only 2 of us, so I always have leftovers.

    Thanks, Janet

  4. Found it! I’ve been looking for a recipe that will entice my adult kids to come home for a dinner. Thank you, thank you!!

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