Johnny Marzetti’s Immigrant Casserole
12 ounces rotini pasta (about 4½ cups)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound ground beef
½ pound bulk mild Italian sausage
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2½ cups shredded Italian cheese blend
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13×9 inch baking dish.
2. Bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil in a large pot.
3. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often, until just al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer to the prepared baking dish.
4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
5. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5 to 7 minutes).
6. Stir in the garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
7. Add the beef and sausage, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, breaking up any large clumps with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
8. Stir in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, and cook until the flavors are blended, about 3 minutes.
9. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
10. Sprinkle 1¼ cups of the Italian cheese blend evenly over the pasta. Pour the meat mixture over the pasta and cheese. Sprinkle the remaining 1¼ cups of the cheese evenly over the meat mixture.
11. Place the baking dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover dish with heavy aluminum foil.
12. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes; until the sauce is bubbling. Remove the foil and bake an additional 8 minutes until the top is slightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.