Halloween Entertaining: Savory Severed Arm in Marinara Sauce!

“Double, double toil + trouble; fire burn + cauldron bubble!”
— Shakespeare

If you enjoy getting in the Halloween spirit as much as I do, this recipe for Savory Severed Arm in Marinara Sauce will be a hands-down favorite! And if you’ve scrolled through the photos and are a little skeptical, let me assure you - it is every bit as delicious as it is gruesome so please don’t be put off by its gory appearance. In fact, I’ve been making “the arm,” as its come to be known, for about eight years now for family and friends and every time I serve it, there’s never a scrap left!

And while we’re foregoing our usual Halloween gathering due to the pandemic, I’m still making “the arm” for the Hubs + pups and I also thought this would be the perfect year to revamp this post since I haven’t in quite some time. So please enjoy the new and improved, super gory, updated photos that are very much in keeping with my glamorous, brand new website.


I first saw this recipe on "Nadia G's Bitchin' Halloween Special" many years ago and it is one of the few dishes I've ever made that can be described as simultaneously revolting and delicious. Butterflied flank steak, Italian cheeses and bread crumbs are rolled up to form an “arm” while the hand consists of a ground beef patty seasoned with delicious spices. Once formed, the entire thing is then covered with thinly-sliced prosciutto which, when cooked, resembles the most horrid-looking monster arm, covered in crispy burnt flesh. It IS Halloween after all!

Please take note, this recipe is a tad time intensive and I’ve made adjustments such as using pre-made marinara sauce that definitely cuts down on the cooking time. You can also assemble the arm earlier in the day and pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. You will also need some kitchen twine to tie up the arm as it roasts so be sure to pick some up at the store. Just be sure to allow some time for it to come to room temperature before searing. And the ground beef mixture needs to sit for about an hour before forming the hand and fingers so please plan accordingly.


For aesthetics, I finished the hand with sliced almond "fingernails" which made the meaty, gory arm even more creepy. And be sure to pour the marinara sauce around the arm not over the arm, you want the prosciutto to be dry so it gets nice and crispy as the arm bakes. And although it looked positively hideous when it came out of the oven, it always receives rave reviews from my guests and there’s never a "fingernail" or crumb of the arm left at the end of the night.

And for you wine lovers hankering for a special bottle to pair with your Savory Severed Arm with Marinara Sauce, a full-bodied, food-friendly red wine would be a perfect choice. My recommendations include:

  • First + foremost an earthy, tart red-cherry infused Chianti Classico Riserva given the arm’s Italian origins - producers to look for include Banfi, Fattoria Felsina + Antinori.

  • A fruity, full-bodied Australian Shiraz - producers to look for include Chateau Tanunda, Yalumba + Mollydooker.

  • A spicy, juicy Argentine Malbec - producers to look for include Alta Vista, Tikal + Bodega Catena Zapata.


If you happen to be looking for other recipes to round out your Halloween feast, here are a few more from Nadia's Halloween special: Worm and Maggot Salad, Double-Decker Coffin Sandwiches and Creepy Bocconcini Eyeballs with Prosciutto "Flesh" & Blood Salsa. And while these recipes are also delicious, "the arm" is definitely the pièce de résistance! Please scroll down for the recipe for the Savory Severed Arm in Marinara Sauce and you can find the other recipes from Nadia's Halloween Special by clicking the recipe names above.

Cheers to a very Happy, Delicious + Safe Halloween + please scroll down for recipe! xo

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Adapted from Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen

Serves 6-8

For the Hand:

  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced

  • 1 teaspoon steak spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 bunch fresh chives, chopped

  • 1 egg

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef

  • Sliced almonds for fingernails

For the Arm:

  • 1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 pound flank steak

  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese

  • 4 slices provolone cheese

  • 4 ounces sliced prosciutto

  • 45 oz. jar of marinara sauce (Prego works perfectly)


  1. For the hand: Mix together the parsley, steak spice, chili flakes, oregano, chives, egg, garlic and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the beef and mix together for 30 seconds to season the beef. Don't over-mix. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. For the arm: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the breadcrumbs, grated pecorino, cranberries, parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Quickly mix in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.

  3. Lay the flank steak flat on a cutting board and with a sharp Chef's knife, butterfly the steak by slicing it in half lengthwise but leaving it connected at the outermost edge so it opens like a book (for a great video on how to do this, please click here). Sprinkle inside with salt and pepper and then lay the mozzarella and provolone slices on the inside of the freshly butterflied steak. Add the breadcrumb mixture and roll up the steak, tying with butcher's twine at each end and in the middle to keep the width of the arm as uniform as possible.

  4. When ready to cook, sprinkle the entire exterior of the roll with salt and pepper and heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown the arm roll on both sides, approximately 10 minutes + then remove the meat with tongs and place in the center of a baking sheet. Cover the arm with half of the prosciutto slices so that it looks like skin.

  5. Assembly and cooking: Remove the hand mixture from the refrigerator and make a large patty to resemble the palm of a hand and place it at the end of the arm on the baking sheet. Cover with some of the remaining prosciutto. Roll out 5 fingers with the remaining beef mixture, using your own hand as a guide. Cover each finger with the remaining prosciutto and then place a sliced almond where the fingernail should be.

  6. Cook: In order to see the arm more clearly, pour the marinara sauce all around the arm on the baking sheet rather than over it. It's nice to let the prosciutto "skin" get nice and crispy! Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake uncovered until tender, another 45 minutes.

Stephanie Miskew
Stephanie Miskew