1 lb ground beef
1 whole onion – chopped
1 – bulb garlic – cloves peeled & chopped
3 tblsp. Italian herbs
2 – 16 oz cans chopped tomatoes (*drained or with liquid – see notes below)
4 – 6 cups cups macaroni (partially cooked) – enough to fill whatever sized baking dish you have
Pour macaroni into greased / sprayed casserole dish. Top with remaining ingredients and back uncovered at 350 degrees 30-45 minutes.
2 fresh zucchinis thinly sliced
one bunch of fresh, chopped parsley
juice from one lemon
pinch of salt
Notes: For the version that I prepared (photographed above), I used an entire 8.8 oz package of white rice angel hair pasta. (This is what I had on hand.) It worked, but with the added zucchini, a short pasta would have been better to soak up the extra juice. Pasta on the bottom, as the recipe instructs, is the right way to go.
*Include the juice from the chopped tomatoes or drain it depending on how much liquid you need to make this dish moist.
Upon receipt of the recipe, I noticed several things. There was only an ingredients list – no measurement amounts, and like the other family recipe collections that I’ve studied, casserole cooking used to be popular. The lack of measurements told me that Virginia was a cook, like my Grandma, who could get the proportions right by ‘feel’ or eyeballing it. She had a lot of mouths to feed and casseroles were an economical way to satisfy it.
Casseroles in the US became popular after World War II, when the Campbell’s Soup Company distributed a booklet entitled Helps for the Hostess, published in 1916. Recipes from this book became staple meals in Baby Boomer homes. Click on this link to learn more about the history of condensed soup and its impact on American culture.
This recipe is from the Adrian (Bud) Schmidt collection. (Betty Wrysinski’s younger brother.) It was passed down through the family from Margaret Windus, maternal grandmother to Mary Schmidt Schwaller. Margaret was a neighbor to Betty’s mother, Lillian Schmidt.