Johnny Mazetti

I was first introduced to "Johnny Mazetti" from a friend of mine with family from Panama. I wanted to learn more about this Zonian (Panama Canal Zone) dish, so I did some research. It turns out "Johnny Mazetti" is actually a Panamanian adaptation of the mid-western goulash, "Johnny Marzetti". Johnny Marzetti was the brother in-law of Teresa Marzetti, an Italian restauranteur from Ohio. Somehow, when Americans went to work in the Canal Zone, they dropped the "r" from Marzetti and made their own version of the famous dish.

To sum up:
  • Johnny Marzetti (Mid-Western Goulash)
  • Johnny Mazetti (Panamanian Style Goulash)
Here is my tribute to the Zonians! (This makes about 10-12 servings, so if you don't like leftovers you might want to cut the recipe in half)

Johnny Mazetti

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 stalks of celery (chopped)
  • 4 large carrots (chopped)
  • 8 oz white mushroom (sliced)
  • 1/2 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 jar Spanish Manzanilla olives (chopped)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 bag of pasta ribbons or egg noodles
  • 5-6 oz shredded cheese
  • 1 -2 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp oregano
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • 1-2 cumin
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp pepper


1. Coat pan with olive oil and cook carrots, celery, and onion for about 5 minutes
2. Add ground beef and all spices
3. Cook until ground beef is brown
4. Add mushrooms and olives and cook for another 2-3 minutes

5. Cook pasta according to package
6. Mix pasta with marinara (seasoned however you like)
7. Combine all ingredients in large pot and transfer to a large casserole dish

8. Top with shredded cheese

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or until cheese is fully melted)

10. Enjoy!
I especially loved this dish, because it smelled like my Great Grandma Mary's kitchen when it came out of the oven.