Quintarelli Valpolicella & Lucy’s fried chicken (Giovanni’s Easy Rider tour comes to an end)

There was one sine qua non pillar of Americana that Giovanni had not yet experienced on his “Easy Rider USA Tour 2012”: fried chicken, the way its done in the South.

And so on his last day in Texas, we decided to take a ride to the south side of Austin to Lucy’s Fried Chicken, where irony and hipsterdom collide in a deep frier (photo above by Giovanni). We picked up a bucket of chicken, which, according to Lucy’s serves four but could easily accommodate a party of six (unless folks squabble over who gets the breast).

When we visited Houston on Tuesday, Giovanni had spied a bottle of Quintarelli 2000 Valpolicella, which he generously bought for us to share. As deep as our friendship may run, Giovanni — a top Italian winemaker — and I often disagree about wine. The “rough edges” of many of the Natural and old-school wines that Tracie P and I cherish preclude his nod of approval. He even turned his nose up at a bottle of 2006 Romangia Bianco by Dettori that we opened — one of our all-time favorite wines, showing gorgeously right now! Blasphemy at the Parzen residence!

But one thing we can all agree on is Quintarelli. And the superb bottle inspired an interesting conversation on the use of oxidation and filtration, with Giovanni pointing to Quintarelli as a master in both regards (where many Natural winemakers use excessive oxidation and don’t filter at all).

The richness of the wine (served slightly chilled) was simply brilliant with the fatty, juicy (and delicious) fried chicken and its dark red fruit ideal with the flavors of Tracie P’s mouth-watering fried okra (above) and mashed potatoes.

This morning I took Giovanni to the airport and he’ll be back in Brescia by lunchtime tomorrow. It was great to have him here and share our lives with him. (Italian-speaking readers, please check out his posts on Texas truck culture and his impressions of a Texan wine.)

Thanks again, Giovanni, for the visit and the Quintarelli! Travel safe, friend. As we say in the South, come back and see us, ya hear?

Barbaresco, fried chicken, and keyboards

Morris “Mars” Chevrolet flew in last night with his Nord and Moog and so Tracie P fried up some chicken, mashed some potatoes, and sautéed some broccoli raab and I popped a bottle of 2006 Barbaresco by Produttori del Barbaresco.

You’ve heard me say it before: I am truly blessed to have such a loving and beautiful wife, so generous in spirit, and so supportive of my music. She’s been cooking up a storm, feeding the band, and enjoying the music as we have transformed our little slice of heaven on the corner of Alegria [happiness] and Gro[o]ver into a recording studio. The fried chicken was delicious.

The 06 Produttori del Barbaresco — a wine and vintage much discussed here on the blog — was a little tight last night, even after a few hours of aeration. Seems like it’s closing up a little bit and so maybe it’s time to cellar (following its initial brightness and generosity of fruit).

But the “music is flowing… amazing… and blowing my way”… who knows the song? It’s one of my favs.

Tomrrow’s the big day with the whole outfit in the studio… and so now it’s time to get back to tracking!

I hold these tagliatelle to be self-evident

Dear Tracie B: after you, Mrs. Judy P, and Mrs. Martha Jane B, there is another woman whose food I love. Yes, it’s true. And as much as I relish your fried chicken and your southern ragù (and the huevos rancheros you made me on Valentine’s), and as much as I love my mom’s Caesar salad and her meatloaf (and her Yorkshire puddin’), and as much as I love your mom’s chili dogs and breakfast loaf (and her tuna fish salad with hard-boiled eggs), and as much as I miss the Jaynes Burger back in sunny San Diego, there is another lady who holds a top spot in my heart. Her name is Signora Corrado and she lives in Bologna. And every week she makes fresh pasta for her husband and her son (one of my dearest and oldest friends, Corradino “Dindo” Corrado). Yes, it’s true: I fell in love with a Southern Belle and guagliona named Tracie B but my Yankee heart still hankers for the tagliatelle of my university days when I would hop a train from Padua and head to Bologna to play music at the legendary Casalone, and hang out with my buds Puddu and Dindo.

Here’s a step-by-step “how to make fresh pasta” by Mrs. Corrado herself. I hold these tagliatelle to be self-evident!

Make a well with flour and break the eggs into the well. (A lot of folks might add salt here, but Signora Corrado says to season the pasta only with the generous salt added to the cooking water; see Tracie B’s post on seasoning the cooking water.)

Mix the eggs into the flour using two forks.

Work the dough well with your hands (this is the most labor intensive part but it’s the most important). Most people say that you know its ready when its surface feels like a baby’s bottom.

Cover and let the pasta rest in a cool, dry place for at least 30 minutes.

Work the dough again with your hands, adding a little more flour.

Roll the dough out to the desired thickness.

Note above the length of her rolling pin. The length is important to achieve even consistency.

Fold the pasta over itself, making a “book” about 3 inches in widgth

Slice the tagliatelle with the desired width. The name taglatelle comes from the Italian tagliare, to cut.

Gently separate the tagliatelle.

Gather them into little bunches and let them dry all morning or afternoon on a floured pasta board.

Serve with your favorite sauce. Those are garganelli to the left, but you’ll have to check out my guest post at My Life Italian for those.

Thanks, Dindo, for sending these photos!