Home Cooking: Franconello’s

By Kristin Boza

Franconello’s has been serving fine Italian cuisine in Beverly/Morgan Park since 1993, opened by Frank Ruffolo and Nello Sabatini. After a devastating fire four years ago, the owners decided to take their time to repair the damage to come back stronger than ever and once again serve the community.

“We have a different type of clientele than other restaurants throughout the city,” said Frank A. Ruffolo, son of owner Frank Ruffolo. “This is a very family-oriented neighborhood; we’ve been welcomed into the community and accepted for 25 years.”

Well-known for the homemade gnocchi, a handmade Itailan potato dumpling, and their fresh marinara sauce, Franconello’s also boasts an incredible 2-inch center cut pork chop. Other Italian style staples include chicken parmesan, shrimp diavalo, and, of course, their homemade tiramisu.

“The gnocchi and tiramisu are a dying art since they’re so labor intensive,” Ruffolo said. “It takes a lot of time and practice to make, but you can really tell the difference between these dishes made from hand and those that are pre-prepared.”

Sausage Franconello is another crowd favorite, putting sausage, peppers, potatoes and mushrooms into one dish. “Any time you come in here, you’ll see at least one of these dishes on every table; it’s been on the menu since we opened,” Ruffolo said. “We don’t want to mess with the classics.”

“People always ask us what’s the secret to our food. For a lot of it, there’s no secret recipe. It’s about using quality ingredients to start with,” Ruffolo said. “When you start with a lower quality food, you’ll end up with a bad dish. We always use fresh, seasonal produce for our weekly specials, and our sausage is a house-made blend.”

Ruffolo knows that providing a great dining experience is just as important as the food. “Our chefs have become our family and have been here forever. Our bus boys and waitresses know our clients by name. You feel welcome when you come in and you feel like family,” he said.

Franconello’s Rigatoni Arrabbiata

Ingredients:

1/2 cup diced onions

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped prosciutto

1 can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup chopped basil

1/4 cup chopped basil

Rigatoni Pasta

Parmesan Cheese

Heat oil in sauce pan, add onions garlic and prosciutto until vegetables have turned translucent. Then add crushed tomatoes and pepper flakes.  Let simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Cook rigatoni in salted water until al dente. Add pasta to completed sauce and fresh herbs. Garnish with basil and parmesan cheese.