Fort Ontario Soldier, Chef & Cookbook Author Remembered At Special Dinner

Bridge Street

Get a taste of history – literally – at an upcoming dinner in Oswego.

Friends of Fort Ontario is hosting the dinner, which will feature the recipes WW1 soldier Garibaldi M. Lapolla, who was stationed at Fort Ontario.

“He was a Mess Sergeant during World War 1 at the Fort hospital and went on from there” says Daniel Laird, Friends of Fort Ontario Board President.  “He met his wife there, had two kids with her and he wrote a very famous book about Italian cooking in America.”

Lapolla’s cookbook is called Italian Cooking for the American Kitchen and was published in 1953.

The dinner event will help raise awareness of Lapolla and his connection to Oswego, and the food will be comprised of dishes inspired by the cookbook, including antipasto, consommé romana (soup), chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, and rice pudding with caramel sauce.

Following dinner, local historian Paul Lear will speak on Lapolla’s life as an Italian immigrant, educator, politician, soldier, novelist, artist, poet, labor activist, and cookbook author.

Alexis Bowering, Friends of Fort Ontario Board Secretary, says money raised at events like this benefit the programming and projects at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, including much-need repairs. 

“Because the Fort is owned by the government and the state, funding is somewhat troublesome from time to time” she says. 

The Garibaldi Lapolla dinner is planned for Friday, March 6.  It’s happening from 6pm to 10pm at the American Foundry on West Seneca Street in Oswego.

Tickets are $50.  They’re available at 315-343-4711 or by clicking here.

Laird and Bowering also shared one of Lapolla’s recipes on the show: Ground Basil Sauce Piemontese (Salsa di basilico pestato)

What you need to serve 6:

  • 1 pound of fettuccelle
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of olive oil

What you do:

Ger yourself a wooden mixing bowl with a good mincing or chopping device, or use a mortar and pestle. Combine herbs and garlic, and mince or pound to a paste. Work olive oil into the paste quite well.  With last teaspoon of oil add the cayenne.

After draining the pasta, return to the original pan.  Mix the sauce or the pestata into it.  Keep a low flame under the plan so as to keep the pasta hot.  Serve.

TIP: Laird and Bowering added shrimp for a more complete meal.

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