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Johnny Marzetti {Ratio Recipe}

ohio johnny marzetti in skilletLike many central Ohioans, I grew up with a pan of Johnny Marzetti on every church potluck spread. The concoction of elbow pasta, meaty tomato sauce, and cheese held little appeal to me but I do recall it being a favorite of many others. When John of Jarsloth approached a group of Columbus bloggers to write about this cowtown classic, I aimed to create a homegrown and local version. That mine happens to contain far less fat and more vitamins than the original is a bonus to the exciting flavors.

ingredients for local johnny marzettichopped ingredients for johnny marzettiReady to bake johnny marzetti
My backyard Johnny Marzetti contains everything I could harvest from the backyard garden today: peppers, pattypan squash, chard, parsley and thyme. Precooked elbow macaroni (not at all local because I do like the Barilla brand and do not have a pasta extruder) and the vegetables are smothered in home canned tomato sauce and topped with cheddar cheese. After a quick bake, my local 'zetti, or one you make with the following ratio recipe, would be right at home on a modern potluck table.

[print_this]Johnny Marzetti Ratio Recipe feeds four

1/2 # elbow macaroni, cooked to al dente and drained 3 cups diced vegetables and/or ground meat, seasoned and cooked 2.5 cups tomato sauce 1 cup shredded cheese

1. Combine macaroni, vegetables, meat, and tomato sauce in an oven-proof pan, such as a 8x8 glass pan or 12 inch slope-sided cast iron skillet. 2. Top with shredded cheese. 3. Place in a cool oven (if using a glass pan) and turn on to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top browns. [/print_this]

Post Script: As our dog-who-eats-everything is wont to do, Devie scaled the counter and mawed on the Marzetti before it went in the oven. Bad dog! Like a good homesteader with limited time and a family to feed, I simply topped with more cheese and baked a bit longer than usual. You might notice the missing volume in the pre- vs post- baked pictures.

For more reflections on Johnny Marzetti according to local food bloggers, check out John's post Respect the Marzetti, Andreas's flavor packed update and Debra's South Texas style. Marzetti with locally sourced ingredients is planned for the menu at the 2012 OEFFA conference and the subject of an article in an upcoming Columbus Crave magazine.