Our favorite restaurant in the Cary area is Lubrano’s Italian Ristorante in Morrisville. We have been going there often since it opened. We have never been disappointed in the delicious food or excellent service. My favorite recipe is Chicken Francese. It is always perfect with a side of your choice of pasta. I would be so grateful if you could get the recipe.
Steve and Joyce DeMoe
Chef Paolo Zoccola, who owns Lubrano’s Ristorante Italiano in Morrisville, came to the U.S. from Italy 23 years ago.
Raised in Fusaro, a community near Naples, Zoccola said his mother, Anna, practically ran a restaurant out of her home, making meals for 20 to 25 people every day. “She’s still the best chef I’ve ever met,” he said.
Watching his mother and brother, who also works as a chef, in the kitchen inspired Zoccola. “That’s how I got my passion,” he said.
After high school, Zoccola moved to the U.S. and stayed. He owned a pizzeria in New Jersey for 11 years. Then in 2001, he relocated to North Carolina to open Lubrano’s with the restaurant’s namesake, who owns several locations in High Point and Greensboro. Eventually, Zoccola took over the Morrisville location and has been serving his take on classic Italian food ever since.
His Chicken Francese is one of those classic dishes that he’s made his own. “Everybody does it a little bit different,” Zoccola explained.
His version is a butterflied chicken breast pounded thin, dipped in flour and then an egg batter and cooked until done. A pan sauce of white wine, chicken stock and fresh squeezed lemon juice pairs with the chicken and is served with a side of pasta.
COMBINE eggs in a large, shallow dish. Stir with a fork. Add salt, pepper, parsley and cheese.
PLACE 2 tablespoons flour on a plate. Dip the butterflied chicken breast in the flour to coat both sides. Then dip the floured chicken breast into the egg wash on both sides.
MELT butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until fully cooked. Remove chicken to a plate.
MAKE a sauce in the skillet: add white wine and use a spatula to dislodge the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon juice and chicken stock. Sift the flour into the sauce and then whisk the flour to thicken the sauce.
CUT chicken in half, serve each piece of chicken with pasta, a bit of sauce and garnished with sliced lemons and fresh parsley. Yield: 2 servings
Specialty of the House gets recipes for local restaurant dishes. Send requests, including your city, to Specialty of the House, c/o The News & Observer or email firstname.lastname@example.org.