Johnny Marzetti With A Twist

Recently, my friend John, contacted me and a few other local food bloggers about doing a blog post on the Johnny Marzetti dish.  We each would create our version of the dish and then all post about it on the same day.

I immediately said I was in! Then I asked what the Johnny Marzetti dish was.  Not being a Columbus, or even an Ohio native, this was completely new to me.

John directed me to this link explaining the dish.  I knew exactly what it was once I read the description.  Where I grew up, it was called Goulash.  Some folks, mostly those from the New England area, refer to it as Chop Suey.

It’s elbow pasta with ground beef in a tomato sauce.  We had this all the time growing up and it was one of the few ways I would be willing to eat ground beef.  I made it for Scott when we started dating and he fell in love with it.

I recently got back from a long weekend in NYC and the food supplies are in an emergency state here at the HQ.  I committed to the dish and needed to pull something together.  The question was, how and with what?

I decided to keep it simple by upping the flavor factor just a bit by roasting veggies and using a smoked sausage.

Andrea’s Johnny Marzetti With A Twist

  • 2 Links of Smoked Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage, finely chopped
  • 1 Green Pepper, chunked
  • 1 Medium Onion, chunked
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2C Frozen Chopped Greens
  • 2C Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta
  • 1 28oz Can of Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 14oz Can of Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Olive Oil
  • 1 15oz Can of Cannelline Beans, drained and rinsed. (Optional)
  • 1/2C Dry Red Wine (I used Chianti)
  • Big Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2tsp Dried Basil
  • 2tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1tsp Italian Seasoning (I like Mrs. Dash Brand)
  • Olive Oil for Sauteeing
  • Shredded Mozeralla
  • Shredded Pecorino Romano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large pot, fill with water and bring to a boil.  Cook pasta according to directions on box.  Cook just shy of being “done”.  Drain and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place onion, green pepper, and garlic on it.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, toss to coat.  Place in oven and roast for about 10 minutes until the veggies get soft and start to brown along the edges.  Remove from oven.

In a blender add in the can of crushed tomatoes along with the roasted veggies.  Blend until veggies are completely broken down and pureed in with the sauce.

In a sautee pan, drizzle in a little olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add in the sausage and sautee until the sausage starts to crisp up a bit.  Add in the red pepper flakes and then the red wine.  Add in the wine slowly and carefully.   Stir and let the wine deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Add in the blended tomato sauce and the can of diced tomatoes.  Add in the frozen chopped greens and the beans. Then stir and bring to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

When the flavors have come together, turn off the heat and slowly add in the elbow pasta.  Gently combine and top with shredded cheese.  How much is up to you.

Place pan in oven (remember it’s still heating from roasting the veggies) just long enough for the cheese to melt and get gooey.  About 5-10 minutes.

Remove from oven using pot holders, serve and enjoy!

As I mentioned, just getting home from a trip, the ingredients were slim pickings around here.  Thankfully I had a few staple items and things in the freezer that I could use for this dish.

I knew right away that I would be using the smoked sausage and I decided to play off of that flavor.  By roasting the veggies first for the sauce and using fire roasted tomatoes as the base, I think this really complimented the smoked sausage flavor.

This made a TON of food.  Plenty for leftovers or for a large party.  This dish freezes very well.

The beans got lost in the dish, so they are completely optional.  If I made this again, I think I would rather use more sausage in place of the beans.

Columbus Locals, I purchased the sausage at The Anderson’s over behind Sawmill.  They have great locally sourced sausages.

Chopped frozen greens give the dish some color while also bumping up the veggie intake.

Not a bad dish for trying to scramble for ingredients! The entire time I was making it, Scott kept commenting on how good it smelled.  He had two full servings so I think he was pleased.

This was my Johnny Marzetti dish with a twist!

Go and check out the other takes on this Ohio dish!

Rachel’s Homegrown Version

Debra’s Texan Version

John’s Classic Version

Have you had Johnny Marzetti or Goulash style dish before?

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!



4 thoughts on “Johnny Marzetti With A Twist

  1. Nicole says:

    I grew up here but can’t recall ever being served this dish, which is pretty sad considering it originated here in my hometown. I vaguely have a memory of seeing that name on the school lunch menu, but I don’t think that was a day I ever bought lunch. As for goulash, I’ve only ever had the German version, which isn’t like this at all…or at least not how my German relatives prepare it!

    LOL, it kinda reminds me of Hamburger Helper (yuck), except yours is fresh and delicious-sounding. Something I’d actually eat!

    I got away from shopping at Andersons since I shop at too many places already. Is their meat local? Thankfully there are couple places nearby where I can get Ohio meats, but I’ve “rediscovered” Andersons recently and would like to add them back to the list.

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