Johnny Mazetti…ermmm Zanzetti?

This here is a mid century mash up.

Back in the day, American workers in the Panama Canal Zone (as the story goes) created a pasta casserole that become wicked popular, and rightfully so; Johnny Mazetti Spaghetti is tasty!

More than likely, at the same time in suburban D.C., my Aunt Buzz came up with Zanzetti – a combination of ground beef, Kraft Dinner, and tomato soup. It was also quite tasty, but then I got to thinking…

What if I mashed them up?

•1 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/2 lb ground beef/pork
•2 cups shredded cabbage mix
•8 oz sliced ‘shrooms
•1 sweet onion, diced
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/4 cup French dressing
•1 box Kraft dinner
•1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter
•1/4 cup milk
•1 can tomato soup
•1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
•Sliced black olives (optio0nal)
•Shredded cheese

To start, warm the olive oil (I really like this garlic infused oil) over medium heat, then add the meat misture and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, for five minutes.

Add the cabbage (coleslaw mix is a great way to sneak veggies into a meal!), onion, garlic, Sherry Peppers and hot sauce and continue to cook until the meat is cooked through, the veggies are tender, and most of the pan juices have been cooked off.

Drain well, fill your pan with salted water, return to the stove, and bring to a boil.

Add the macaroni from your Kraft dinner box, cook according to package instructions, then drain.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Add your drained beef mixture to a casserole dish and stir in the French dressing.

Return the drained macaroni to the pot along with the milk, butter, powdered cheese, and seasonings.

Stir until smooth and creamy, then add to the meat mixture in the casserole.

If your are using them, stir in the sliced black olives, and top the casserole with shredded cheese.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through.

Kinda junk food, but, actually a major comfort food, even though Aunt Buzz is cursing me from beyond the veil for totally “gorping up” her recipe.

It was also a pretty terrific way to thank a friend of ours for her pretty cool gift of this casserole dish.

THX, Linda, I love it!



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