Johnny Marzetti


Despite the name, this dish isn’t Italian. It’s one of the few items that were in the regular rotation of my grade school cafeteria in Pennsylvania that seemed to be popular with the students and a dish I still crave as an adult.

Called beefaroni or beef & mac in some parts of the country, simplicity is the key to this particular version. This is not haute cuisine by a long shot. There are no onions, garlic, bell peppers, herbs,spices or cheese to confuse the picky palates of a couple hundred little kids (it wouldn’t be Johnny Marzetti with herbs in it) yet it’s surprisingly delicious, filling and comforting.

Perfect for feeding a crowd, this recipe can easily be doubled. It’s a perfect dish for a potluck or buffet. If you must, go ahead and add some onions, garlic, peppers, or cheese-it will still be delicious, just don’t call it Johnny Marzetti.

1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
3 beef boullion cubes
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large (29 ounces) can plain tomato sauce
1 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes, broken up
8 ounces dry elbow macaroni

Brown the ground beef very well over medium high heat and drain any excess grease. Over medium heat add the boullion cubes and brown sugar breaking up the boullion cubes. Add the tomatoes and sauce, bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for an hour.

Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions (do not over cook), drain well and return to the pot. Pour the meat sauce over the macaroni and gently stir to avoid breaking up the macaroni to combine. Cover the pan and set aside for at least 30 minutes. The macaroni will absorb the excess moisture from the sauce as it sits. Serve warm.

Serves 6

  1. quelle délice j’adore les pâtes , les recette de ce blog me fond fondre hummm

  2. Yummy! Looks so delicious!

  3. I think the name originated in Ohio and is very popular in the Panama zone since WWII – at least from my research in doing a post on it back in Oct … it is a tasty, easy & satisfying dish – I called my version ‘Daddy’s Delight’ … easy for mom but more inportantly, it’ll warm daddy up…

    • foododelmundo
    • January 25th, 2010

    A fabulous blast from the past – we often had it growing up on the farm for Saturday lunches and called it goulash.

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