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Friday, November 19, 2010

gilmore anyone?

Any Gilmore Girls fans out here? If so, you may have known the answer to yesterday's question.. that infamous casserole, Johnny Machete.

I'm a bit of a Gilmore nerd and have seen each episode multiple times since I have the dvd's. In one episode, this mystery casserole is served at the traditional Friday night dinner because it was a childhood favorite of Richard's. Emily is less than pleased with this dish and is not afraid to let everyone know it.

Because it has such a curious name I was determined to find out what exactly it was. It was really hard to find any answers but finally, I found another blogger with the same affinity for The Girls that I have. She was able to uncover a lot of information on the subject. Apparently it is unclear exactly where they got the name "Johnny Machete" from, maybe a play on childhood misspeaking, but the dish is believed to be based off of the casserole, Johnny Marzetti. According to The Kitchen Illiterate, Johnny Marzetti is something Ohioans know about. It comes from a restaurant in the 1920s named Marzetti's and is sort of like a super Hamburger Helper.

I was a little skeptical about the combination of ingredients but I was determined to try it after finally finding it. I mean, if it was awful, there's always take out right? :) But let me just tell you, it was awesome. It will definitely be made again. My family and boyfriend loved it and there's plenty of it to go around. So whether you Gilmore or not, try this recipe. You won't be sorry!

Begin by chopping up some mushrooms, celery, green bell pepper, onion, and garlic.

Get some butter and olive oil heating in a large pan and add your mushrooms. Coat them and let them sit for about 5 minutes, flipping once during that time. Remove them and put aside and start browning your ground beef.

When the beef is browned about half way, add all your veggies including the mushrooms.

Cook until meat is browned all the way through and onions become soft and translucent. (After the meat was cooked through I covered it with a lid to let the veggies steam a little.)

Meanwhile you should have pasta cooking in a large soup pot. Very large. Everything is going to end up in here. When it's just slightly undercooked, strain it and return it to the pot. Add both tomato and cream of mushroom soup (that's the part that made me nervous) and dill.

Mix well until everything is combined. Next add your cheeses.

I put the meat mixture right on top of this to try to get it to start melting before I had to mix everything. It helps to transfer the meat and veg mixture with a slotted spatula or spoon so that you leave all the juices from the meat and vegetables behind.

Now mix everything. Get it all good and coated. This is where you'll be glad to have a large pot. It should look like this when you're done..

Now pour the whole lot into a large baking dish and cover with remaining cheese. Oven time.

After a half hour, you will have this..

Scoop out a section and eat up. With all the flavors and fresh vegetables, this puts Hamburger Helper to shame.

I have to agree with Richard on this one. Delicious. Johnny Marzetti or not, I think I will always call this Johnny Machete. It makes it sound much more interesting! My dad thinks it sounds like a mob boss or a cheap cocktail. And what's more interesting than that? :)

Johnny Machete
adapted slightly from The Kitchen Illiterate

16 oz (or 1 box) pasta (I used rotini because it holds all that cheesey goodness in its spirals so well.)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
5 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 lb ground beef
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10 oz can condensed tomato soup
1 10 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp dill
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Cook pasta for about 8 minutes or until just undercooked
Heat butter and olive oil in a large pan. Add mushrooms and coat. Cook for five minutes flipping once. Remove mushrooms and set aside.
Add ground beef to pan. Cook about halfway through and add garlic, pepper, mushrooms, celery, and onions. Cook beef all the way through and heat until onions are translucent.
Add tomato and cream of mushroom soups and dill to pasta. Mix well.
Layer 3/4 cup each of cheddar and mozzarella cheese on top of pasta.
Scoop beef and veggie mixture on top of that.
Mix everything until it is evenly coated and combined.
Pour the mix into a large baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses.
Tent loosely with foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes. When there's about 5 minutes left, remove foil so cheese gets a little bubbly and slightly browned.
Serve it up and decide if you are a Richard or an Emily.

Happy Friday! :)


  1. Thank you. Looked it up after the scene, and planning on making it. :)

  2. Just watched the episode, thanks for this! You're awesome!!!!!!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


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