Lasagna as Served at Bruno's Little Italy in Little Rock, Arkansas, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Season 29.
Recipe courtesy of Bruno's Little Italy

Lasagna Imbotito

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min
  • Active: 2 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 12 servings


Meat Sauce:




Pasta Dough:


Special equipment:
a meat grinder with sausage attachment; a pasta machine or pasta attachment to the stand mixer; a pasta cutter
  1. For the meat sauce: Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, mixing well. Add salt, pepper, basil flakes and parsley flakes and stir until well-combined. Simmer over a low flame while you cook the beef.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add ground beef and boil until cooked all the way through. Strain cooked beef and add to tomato sauce. Simmer for about 1 hour.
  3. For the sausage: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Have a meat grinder assembled with the sausage attachment and hog casing.
  4. Combine the pork, beef, fennel seed, black pepper, red pepper, salt and oil in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly so that all the spices are evenly incorporated. Run the meat through the sausage grinder and into the casing, twisting into sausages. Place the cased sausages on a baking sheet. Poke the sausages a few times with a toothpick or fork to create small holes (this will prevent the casing from bursting during cooking). Bake, rotating once halfway through the cooking, about 24 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  5. For the meatballs: Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Combine the beef, breadcrumbs, Romano, parsley flakes, garlic, pine nuts, salt, pepper and egg in a medium bowl, being sure to mix well so that all the spices are evenly incorporated. Roll the meat into 3-ounce balls. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let cool.
  6. For the filling: Assemble the meat grinder and have a bowl ready to catch the ground meat and cheese. Run 3 meatballs, 3 sausages, the prosciutto, soppressata and mozzarella cubes through the grinder and into the bowl. Mix well.
  7. Combine the ricotta, Romano, eggs, butter, parsley, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the ground meat and cheese mixture. Mix well.
  8. For the pasta dough: Heat a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Add a splash of oil.
  9. Fit a stand mixer with the dough hook, then generously oil the hook to prevent dough from sticking. Whisk the egg, milk, salt and 1 tablespoon water together in a mixing bowl. Pour egg and milk mixture into the stand mixer bowl and add half the flour. Beat the dough over medium-low speed until the flour begins to incorporate into the mixture. Gradually add the rest of the flour until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Once the dough is mixed, turn out onto a floured surface.
  10. Divide the dough into several portions. Using a pasta machine or pasta attachment for your stand mixer, sheet the dough: Begin with the machine on the thickest setting and run one of the dough pieces through. Gradually reduce the setting number until the dough has been sheeted through the lowest number. Using a pasta cutter, cut the dough into rectangular strips. Place cut strips onto a well-floured sheet pan or tray. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough.
  11. Carefully add the pasta sheets to the boiling water. Cook, stirring with a spatula to prevent the pieces from sticking together, about 2 minutes. Using a large wire strainer or slotted spoon, carefully transfer the cooked pasta to a parchment-lined tray or plate, being sure to use additional parchment sheets if layering the noodles. Set aside.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and oil a 13-by-9-inch casserole dish.
  13. Gently drape the pasta sheets over the sides and corners of the dish, then fill in the bottom once the sides are covered (the finished lasagna will be fully wrapped in noodles). Add half the ricotta and meat filling, pressing it down into an even layer. Next, add a layer of meat sauce, putting just enough sauce to cover the ricotta and meat filling. Add another layer of noodles, this time only arranging them on top of the sauce and not draped over the sides. Add the remaining ricotta and meat filling and another layer of meat sauce. Carefully fold in the noodles that were draped over the sides and corners, then use more noodles to fill in any areas of the lasagna that are not covered.
  14. Cover lasagna in foil and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. Cut and serve topped with a generous amount of meat sauce and fresh basil for garnish.