I came across a recipe for ‘Johnny Mazetti Spaghetti’ in one of my old cookbooks, and was immediately struck by the similarity to my Aunt Buzz’s Zanzetti. That sent me to da Google, and that is how I came to read about Johnny Marzetti’s in Columbus, OH, and then that this dish was among the very favorite comfort foods of ‘Zonians’ – folk who lived in the Panama Canal Zone back in the day. I like Zanzetti, but I LOVE this.
•1 lb ground beef
•1 onion, diced
•3 small sweet peppers, diced
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•2 (24 oz) jars pasta sauce – I use Target’s
•1 jar water
•1 tsp basil
•1 tsp oregano
•1 tsp parsley
•1 bay leaf
•1/2 tsp seasoned salt
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tbsp sugar
•Dash 21 Seasoning Salute
•1/2 tsp Earl’s – or other hot sauce
•1 lb spaghetti
•1/2 cup sliced black olives
•2 cups cheddar cheese
•1 cup panko crumbs
Add the ground beef, onion, garlic, and peppers to a hot Dutch oven over medium heat until the meat is cooked through and any cooking liquid is gone.
Add the pasta sauce, the water, and the seasonings, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. I had some grilled onion and peppers leftover from the last time we had linguiça and added them as well at this point – nice.
Stir 1 cup of the cheese and the olives into the sauce along with the cooked and drained spaghetti and stir together gently.
Lightly oil a large baking dish – I used an 11-3/4 x 8-3/4, but a standard 11 x 13 would be fine – then turn in the spaghetti and sauce mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and the casserole is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
We had ours with roasted asparagus, and thought it a fine meal; way to go, Mr Marzetti and all you Zonians!