Home cooking: Johnny M Casserole

November 22, 2011

This recipe was given to Jerry Rowe's mother many years ago by a lady she did housecleaning for. The lady knew Rowe's mom was always looking for good recipes to feed a large family on a limited budget, and this was one of them.

Johnny M Casserole, sometimes called Johnny Marzetti, is a baked pasta dish rumored to have originated at Marzetti's restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. But Kate Hill, a T. Marzetti Co. spokeswoman, said that is not the case. "According to the company historian (and one of the original T. Marzetti Company employees) there is no proof that Johnny Marzetti originated at the restaurant," she wrote in an email. "The source remains a mystery."

Johnny M Casserole

1 pound ground beef

1 package Sloppy Joe seasoning mix

4-ounce can tomato paste

1 1/4 cups water

2 cups cooked elbow macaroni

16-ounce can whole-kernel corn

2 cups grated, sharp, cheddar cheese, divided

Brown ground beef and stir in seasoning mix, tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Cook macaroni according to package directions, until just tender. Drain and add to the beef mixture. Add corn and 1 cup of cheese.

Put into a 2-quart casserole pan and top with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

—  Submitted by Jerry Rowe of Smithsburg

— This recipe is included in "Special Family Recipes," a cookbook with more than 400 recipes from Special Olympic athletes and their families and friends. Proceeds benefit Washington County Special Olympics. Copies can be purchased for $10 by contacting Jo Anne at 301-739-4113 or Carolyn at 240-217-2330.

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