Foodie of the Fort shares authentic Italian lasagna recipe
Thursday, 08 February 2018
By Derek Gean
Assistant editor
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Wednesday is Valentine’s Day and February’s Fort Leonard Wood Foodie of the Fort says she has the perfect dish to show that special someone just how special they are.

Giulia Abbate Oliver, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Deril Oliver, loves to cook the food of her native country — Italy. Oliver is sharing her lasagna recipe, which she says is perfect for the holiday.
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Giulia Abbate Oliver makes her lasagna in her kitchen.

We asked Oliver about her love of Italian cooking and why she loves sharing her specialities with her friends and neighbors. Here are her answers:

Q. There is no doubt you have a love for cooking, do you consider yourself a foodie? How so?
A. Everywhere I travel in the world I love to try the local food and family restaurants. I cook old original recipes, especially Italian traditional-recipes. I don’t like industrial food or chain restaurants.

Q. What is your specialty dish?  Why did you choose it?
A. I choose Lasagna because it’s a typical amazing food from Italy, and I love to follow the tradition in the making of it.

Q. How did you acquire your love of cooking?
A. I’m Italian, the good food is in my blood.

Q.  Why do you like to share food with people? 
A. Because there is nothing better than to have long dinners with family and friends, eating good fresh food and drinking amazing wine. I put passion and love in what I cook.

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The finished dish.

Lasagna
olive oil
1 medium carrot
1 yellow onion
1 celery stalk
2.25 pounds of ground beef (80 percent lean)
1 bottle red wine (cheap merlot or pinot noir)
28 ounces of tomato sauce
1 and half broth cubes
1 glass of milk
salt and pepper to taste
 Barilla lasagna sheets
A bowl of Parmesan cheese, grated.

Béchamel
7 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons flour
4 cups of milk
grated nutmeg

Sauce: Heat  5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add carrot, onion and celery peeled and finely chopped. Stir until the mixture is lightly colored. Add the meat, earlier minced, and stir breaking up meat with the spoon until the color is well brown. Pour the bottle of red wine and cook until the alcohol is evaporated (1 hour on medium heat). Add the water to cover the meat and the broth cubes and cook for another hour. When the water is evaporated add the tomato sauce and a glass of milk, then adjust with salt and a little of pepper. Turn the heat down and cook on low heat for at least one hour with lid. Stir occasionally.  This sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated for two to three days.

Béchamel: Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until the mixture becomes like a cream. Pour in very warm milk and whisk vigorously until you have a smooth white sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and cook for at least 10 minutes. It must be like a white cream. Grate in a little nutmeg at the end.

Assembly: Barilla lasagna dry sheets can be used without precooking. Spread three spoons of sauce into the bottom of an earthenware ovenproof dish and mix with few spoons of béchamel. Follow with a layer of lasagna sheets, add a third of your sauce and a third of béchamel and some Parmesan grated. Repeat the process (sheets, sauce, béchamel and Parmesan) three or more times and top with a lot of grated Parmesan.

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Bake the lasagna until beginning to brown on top. Let the dish set 20 minutes before serving.

(Editor's note: GUIDON volunteer Jennifer Alfonso contributed to this article. To nominate a Fort Leonard Wood connected individual for Foodie of the Fort, email your nominee to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )