Lasagna for the Financiers?

Lasagne alla Finanziera–Lasagna in the Financier’s Style–is a particular preparation in the Piedmont region of Italy. This preparation—and any with the name finanziera—is a nineteenth-century or perhaps eighteenth-century invention.  One finds this kind of preparation in the province of Turin, but also in Lombardy and Liguria as well in French cuisine.  So-named dishes are probably not old and may have been favorites of bankers in the Duchy of Savoy and in the Piedmont. If such dishes are older, and don’t have any exotic and expensive ingredients, they may be related to the Middle Ages in which case finanziera was a word for tax collector not financier. It appears that the name of this dish derives from the time in the nineteenth century when it was the preferred dish of bankers and financiers during their working dinners because the dress worn was different than street clothes.  They wore a long jacket called a financial and the name passed on to the preparation.  It should be remembered though that finanziera did not mean financier before the eighteenth century when it referred to tax collectors.  This dish is sometimes made with cockscomb (creste di gallo) and called lasagne alla Cavour, named for Count Cavour who was instrumental in Italy’s struggle for unification.  Dishes prepared à la financière are also found in classical French cuisine.  Typically, such a dish will be made from some combination of cockscomb, chicken livers, veal sweetbreads, and truffles. Visit for instructions on making homemade pasta.

Lasagne alla Finanziera
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Lasagna
Cuisine: Italy
Serves: 6
  • For the pasta
  • 1 pound homemade lasagna or 1 pound store-bought “instant, no-boil” lasagna
  • For the sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta, very finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • Bouquet garni, tied in cheesecloth, consisting of 6 sprigs fresh basil, 6 sprigs fresh sage, and 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ pound chicken livers, finely chopped
  • ¼ pound chicken hearts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces (about 1 cup) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Prepare the pasta. Roll out thin and cut into sheets of lasagna. Let dry for at least 4 hours. Set aside 1 pound for this recipe and store the remainder.
  2. n a flameproof casserole, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat, then cook, stirring frequently, the pancetta, onion, and bouquet garni until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken livers and hearts and continue cooking, stirring, for 10 minutes. Pour in the brandy, chicken broth, and salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Check the seasoning and correct.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, salt abundantly then cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente. Drain without rinsing. Pour a few tablespoons of sauce into a serving platter or bowl. Transfer some lasagna to the bowl and pour more sauce on top. Continue in this manner until all the sauce and lasagna are used up, sprinkling Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over each layer and on the top. Serve with more Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired.


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