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Recipe Tin Project: Italian Noodle Casserole

When I unearthed this card in my stack of vintage recipe cards, I couldn’t wait to try it. Because one, who doesn’t love a pasta-based casserole? And two, it seemed like the simple sort of family recipe that had been used again and again and again. So it just had to be good. With a combination of ground turkey and peppers and onions simmered in tomato sauce, comforting noodles, and plenty of cheese, it really was.

This recipe card came out of an old recipe tin that I recently found and started cooking my way through. I call it the Recipe Tin Project. It’s chock full of old recipe cards, most of which seem to be from the ’60s and ’70s. I love food history, and the idea is to breathe new life into these recipes from the past and maybe learn a technique or two from them along the way. There are everlasting classics in there like Carrot Cake and some not so timeless creations like Jellied Chicken Gumbo.

This one is a plain index card written out in quick cursive. The recipe calls for one and a half cups of cooked noodles and I went with egg noodles which seemed like they’d be a good fit here. They were, but penne or ziti would work well too. It’s a layered casserole, so the noodles go in first…

And then you simmer the tomato sauce, turkey, peppers, and onions, together for just fifteen minutes before that gets poured on top.

The final layer is a generous topping of cheese, a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan.

That bakes until the sauce sinks down into the noodles a bit and the cheese gets golden and bubbly. It’s filling and comforting, just like a good casserole should be.

My mom used to make a simple casserole that she was well known for – it was basically shell noodles, ground beef, tomato sauce, and a mixture of cheeses. We ate it regularly and to this day when I crave comfort food, that’s the very first thing I want. I like to imagine that this casserole was the same type of thing for another family. A simple casserole based on Italian flavors. Nothing too fussy, nothing too involved… just the comforting, dependable type of casserole that you can -and want to- keep coming back to.

Italian Noodle Casserole

1 hour to prepare serves 6

Ingredients

  • 9 oz ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups noodles, cooked
  • 2 oz mozzarella, grated
  • 1 oz Parmesan, grated
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Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, brown ground turkey and drain off any excess fat. Add green pepper, onion, tomato sauce, garlic salt, onion salt, and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Place cooked noodles in prepared baking dish and pour meat sauce over noodles. Sprinkle cheeses evenly over the top and cover tightly with foil.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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