Back when my parents first separated, my mother would pick me up every other Friday for a weekend over at her apartment. And the first thing I always asked for was a plate of my favorite casserole: John Marzetti.
Everything about John Marzetti is comforting: from the smell of the beef and onions browning, to the melted cheese on top of the wide egg noodles.
It’s comfort food at it’s best, and I needed extra comfort during those turbulent times.
As I grew up, I attempted to make it on my own, without any recipe on hand, and there were some pretty interesting renditions. Some included chili beans, others included bell peppers, and others used stewed tomatoes. And they were pretty darn good.
But they never quite compared to the original recipe.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally got around to asking my mother for the recipe to my favorite childhood comfort food. And I was surprised to see how much simpler it is to make than I ever anticipated.
These days, I love to make it for my own kids, who love to have it for dinner themselves. And I always make an extra pan for the freezer, because it never hurts to have a family favorite meal ready for those times when we all need a little bit more comfort food
John Marzetti Noodle Casserole Recipe
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- ½ c chopped onion
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- ¾ c water
- 1 bag uncooked wide egg noodles
- 4 oz sliced American style cheese
- Crumble beef into a large skillet with high sides. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook beef on medium heat until browned.
- Remove beef to a separate bowl or plate and drain the rendered fat.
- Add onions to the skillet and cook until softened.
- Add tomatoes, water, cooked beef and uncooked noodles. Carefully stir to combine.
- Cover skillet with a tight fitting lid and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a casserole dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- Place cooked meat and noodle mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
- Arrange cheese slices on top of the mixture and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving, and enjoy!