Johnny Marzetti Casserole is a hearty ground beef Italian casserole with lots of cheese and a thick, rich tomato sauce.
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.
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.
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.
Try These Other Pasta Casseroles:
- Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole
- Spaghetti Casserole
- Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole
- Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole
- 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.
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