Peas with Pancetta Plus Divina Cucina’s Secrets from a Tuscan Kitchen Cookbook

My friend Judy Witts Francini kindly sent me a copy of her handcrafted cookbook, Secrets from My Tuscan Kitchen, and has even more kindly offered to give a lucky Bleeding Espresso reader a chance to win a copy as well.

To enter the random drawing, all you need to do is comment on this post by 11:59 pm (CET) on Tuesday, March 30, 2010.

Trust me, you’re going to love this cookbook. Not only is it absolutely full of tasty recipes from appetizers to desserts, Judy’s cookbook is also aesthetically pleasing and a cook’s best friend with each page facing the recipes blank so you can add your own notes.

If you don’t know, Italian cooking is very regional, i.e., what you’ll find in Calabria, you probably won’t find in Piemonte, and vice versa. So for those of you who want to get a great taste of what eating in Tuscany is like, you must see Judy’s cookbook, which is based on her own experiences of living in the region for nearly 30 years, particularly as influenced by her Tuscan mother-in-law.

You can read more about Judy’s cookbook and how you can order your own at Judy’s website, Divina Cucina. You can also keep up with Judy at her blog Over a Tuscan Stove and on Twitter @divinacucina.

Of course I wanted to share a recipe with you as I shared Judy’s book this What’s Cooking Wednesday, so I chose something I knew that would be a big hit here. Judy has two recipes for peas in the book, one with pancetta (Piselli alla Fiorentina) and the other with cooked ham (Piselli al Prosciutto); I actually ended up combining the two recipes to adjust for what I had handy (ran out of garlic!), but what I made was closer to Piselli alla Fiorentina, so here you go.

Ah, also, I did leave out the sugar, as P freaks out when he tastes sugar. The peas were definitely sweet enough, and this dish was delicious…and talk about easy peasy! Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Piselli alla Fiorentina


  • 1 lb peas
  • 2 oz pancetta, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • Salt
  • 8 tbs olive oil

1. Place peas, garlic, parsley and olive oil in a saucepan. Add salt to taste.

2. Add enough water to cover peas.

3. Cook over low heat, covered.

4. Just before the peas are done, add the pancetta and sugar. Serve with their sauce.

Buon appetito!

Remember to comment for your chance to a win a copy of Judy’s cookbook!

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98 Beans of Wisdom to “Peas with Pancetta Plus Divina Cucina’s Secrets from a Tuscan Kitchen Cookbook”
« Older Comments
  1. Tanisha
    03.25.2010

    oh yummmy.. Now I am excited…
    .-= Tanisha´s last blog ..Eat Pray Love–the movie =-.

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  2. Trina
    03.25.2010

    I haven’t actually been on this site in a long time. (I read you in my google reader) But this was worth the trip over. :) If I win, I will send you something from Seattle (maybe a local cookbook from here).

    That’s very sweet, Trina, but you don’t have to send anything…thanks for coming over!

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  3. Ciaocristina
    03.25.2010

    Love la cucina Toscana! The book looks great. Cristina

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  4. 03.25.2010

    Ran out of garlic in an Italian kitchen? So what kind of onion did you use, it looks like the little tiny white ones, i9s that it in the pic?

    Well, truth be told, the garlic was moldy, and I decided not to go for it ;) We almost exclusively use red onions, as was used there–they’re often pretty white on the inside.

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  5. 03.25.2010

    Beautiful looking book! would love to win it! Jenny Woolf
    .-= Jenny Woolf´s last blog ..Searching for Harrods Wonderland =-.

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  6. 03.25.2010

    Always wanted Judy’s book, only heared great things about it!!

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  7. I have some peas and some pancetta. Now I know what to do. Grazie!
    .-= nyc/caribbean ragazza´s last blog ..I love André Leon Talley =-.

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  8. 03.25.2010

    Ever since I first visited Tuscany over fifteen years ago, I’ve had a love affair with Tuscan food – I love its guts and its heart and passion! For me, with it’s regional abundance it epitomises soul of the land and the sea and the people. Davina’s book looks like a true testament to all that is Tuscan cooking, if I don’t win a copy, I’ll have to buy it!
    .-= Absolute Vanilla´s last blog ..World Book Day – a tribute to writer pals and the pre-published author revealed… =-.

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  9. 03.25.2010

    Yikes, where did I get Davina??!!! I meant Divina Judy! Sorry! Brain must be frying in olive oil this morning!

    Haha, too funny :)

    .-= Absolute Vanilla´s last blog ..World Book Day – a tribute to writer pals and the pre-published author revealed… =-.

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  10. 03.25.2010

    Have fresh peas in our garden. Love to eat them raw but my son loves them with pancetta like Mum used to make them. Count me in for the contest!
    .-= Scintilla´s last blog ..Little to do, but what a nice place to do it in. =-.

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  11. Being an Italian trapped inside an Irish girl’s body this book is right up my alley. I would be thrilled to win this beautiful book but will certainly look into purchasing it if I don’t.

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  12. Jan
    03.25.2010

    just in case I don’t win, I’m planning to buy Judy’s cookbook while I’m in Florence this summer.

    [Reply]

  13. 03.25.2010

    Looks like a stunning cookbook!
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..10 Things to do in Sweden =-.

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  14. Linda
    03.25.2010

    Sounds like an insteresting cook book. I just love cookbooks. I will try the pea recipe this weekend.

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  15. Susan Cotton
    03.25.2010

    I love peas…growing up my mother would make peas and onions sauted in olive oil. I never had it with pancetta but I will try this. Sounds delish.

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  16. eleftheria
    03.25.2010

    yes please !!! I almost know nothing about Tuscan cooking, just learning and well I love the fact that I could write in it !!!! And I love peas !!!!!

    [Reply]

  17. Pat Griffin
    03.25.2010

    I absolutely love cookbooks! I can’t get enough!

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  18. 03.25.2010

    Awesome giveaway – thank you Judy and Michelle! This cookbook is on my “birthday wish list” : ) and would be a great complement to my current read…”Every Day in Tuscany” – Frances Mayes’ new book. Happy Spring!

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  19. 03.25.2010

    I just won a bottle of fine olive oil from Scordo.com, so I’m going to try to ride my winning streak. Love the peas, my gram used to toss them with different varieties of pasta. I’ll try it with the pancetta, that sounds great as well!
    .-= Joe DeGiorgio´s last blog ..Negativity Sells. Why Do We Buy? =-.

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  20. Bonnie Bee
    03.25.2010

    I’ve been wanting this book for months….thanks for this opportunity to win it!! Otherwise, I hope it will be available for purchase in the US.

    [Reply]

  21. Josephine
    03.25.2010

    hope I win!!

    [Reply]

  22. 03.25.2010

    This book sounds amazing!!! It’s a must have!

    [Reply]

  23. Diane
    03.25.2010

    Being married to an Italian, I “try” to cook like one. Unfortunately, being a Southern girl makes it tough.

    [Reply]

  24. Gabriella
    03.25.2010

    Peas with pancetta….and a great tuscan cookbook…….ma cosa vuoi di piu’ dalla vita?

    [Reply]

  25. Jill
    03.25.2010

    Such a beautiful and simple recipe…one of the best!

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  26. 03.25.2010

    A very simple dish, will wait until Peas are available in the UK..

    Wow such a great giveaway .. Please count me in. Never been to Tuscany but willing to try any Italian recipes :-)
    .-= anne´s last blog ..A wonderful surprise postcard………………. =-.

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  27. 03.25.2010

    Wow! This is a great recipe. It looks so delicious and at the same time, it is very easy to make. Thank you for sharing this recipe to us. I have been a long time reader of your blog and I appreciate all the information you share with us. I love reading you blogs before going to sleep while sipping on my hot coffee. Kudos!
    .-= Michael Cavinta´s last blog ..Krups Coffee Grinder Is The Best For A Fine Grind =-.

    [Reply]

  28. 03.25.2010

    Yikes, I have to figure out how to delete the posts above to increase my chances of winning!

    Cooking with pancetta, much like chorico, bacon and proscuitto is going to improve virtually any dish it is in.
    .-= running42k´s last blog ..What did I eat? =-.

    [Reply]

  29. 03.25.2010

    peas and pancetta how can you go wrong.
    .-= The Food Hunter´s last blog ..Redleaf Water & A Giveaway =-.

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  30. 03.25.2010

    What a great giveaway! I’d love to learn some more Italian dishes.
    .-= Fuji Mama´s last blog ..Kinkan Kanro-ni (Japanese Candied Kumquats) with Panna Cotta =-.

    [Reply]

  31. 03.25.2010

    I’m not Italian by blood but I am Italian by heart. The cookbook looks wonderful and so does the dish you made. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  32. Christy S
    03.25.2010

    I just discovered your blog while researching Italian cooking. I’m trying to teach myself about Italian cuisine. This book would be a perfect introduction.

    [Reply]

  33. Gil
    03.26.2010

    My neighbor has peas that are starting to sprout. The recipe sounds great.

    [Reply]

  34. Tertia
    03.26.2010

    I want it! And my husband will appreciate it too! Lots of love to you!

    [Reply]

  35. Antonia
    03.26.2010

    This cookbook looks wonderful…I would love to have it! My family is from Sicily and Campania, and I have tons of family recipes, but I love to learn about food from other regions of Italy and try out the different dishes.

    [Reply]

  36. Linda
    03.26.2010

    Nothing says SPRING like fresh peas. Here in the states it’s time to plant! If I don’t win the cookbook, maybe I’ll receive it as Mother’s Day gift. (hint hint to my son who loves your blog!)

    [Reply]

  37. Judy
    03.26.2010

    Hi Michelle and Judy. The cookbook sounds wonderful and I want to win it. I love peas!!

    [Reply]

  38. 03.26.2010

    So, one thing I discovered that is not at all clear from the recipe, is how many FRESH peas (in the pods) does one need to buy (at the vegetable stand) in order to get a full portion (shelled)? I asked for a “kilo”, we’ll see how many are happy with their portion. It did stimulate me to buy the peas, so that this way my kids (little girls, not goats) can help with the preparation and have fun since their Easter vacation has started. That reminds me, I need to look for white eggs for coloring, too… usually tough to find around here.

    Good question. I don’t know the answer as I used frozen, and I would imagine it also somewhat depends on the size of the pods (I’ve seen big and small pea pods around here; not sure how much they weigh in relation to the peas inside). In any event, I recommend going crazy on fresh peas when you find ‘em, let the girls go at ‘em until it looks like you have plenty to cook, and freeze whatever looks like too much to prepare (or save them for another day, but within a week, I’d say, in any event). Win win win! Good luck on those eggs….

    [Reply]

  39. 03.27.2010

    Looks fantastic. Mmmm too bad I’m the only pea lover here. The others don’t know what they are missing.
    .-= Shan´s last blog ..friday high five – chocolate =-.

    [Reply]

  40. Connie
    03.27.2010

    Love Tuscan food…just bought some fresh peas…am going to whip this up for dinner tonight!

    [Reply]

  41. Madeline
    03.28.2010

    I love Italian food and I have been looking for a good cookbook so I can make more dishes at home…right now my main repertoire consists of some basic pasta dishes like lasagna, etc.
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  42. Francine
    03.29.2010

    I love how many of the best recipes just combine great ingredients & are easy to put together! The picture looks delicious!

    [Reply]

  43. 03.29.2010

    Yum…I actually made something like that recently!

    [Reply]

  44. 03.30.2010

    Oh, this is so similar to how my Nonna would make peas (and I still do!). I love cookbooks and would love to have this one
    xoxo Pattie and Allie
    .-= Pattie and Allie´s last blog ..Spring Break! Getting ready for Easter and having some fun! =-.

    [Reply]

  45. Sara Van Artsdalen
    03.30.2010

    I remember all the meals and special dishes my grandmother made for us. I try to make them the way she used to but because she never wrote any of the recipes down I always feel like there is “something” missing. I check cookbooks and websites and gather recipes that are similar to hers and then try to recreate the magic that came out of her kitchen. She used simple ingredients with basic methods and without many of our modern day tools but her meals and food were always delicious. This recipe looks like something she would make and since peas will be available in the framers market soon I will definitely try it.

    [Reply]

  46. Don S
    03.30.2010

    I have a similar recipe that i like – without the pancetta – I use onions instead.
    Count me in for the book

    That’s actually the normal way we make them, Don :)

    [Reply]

  47. Jean
    03.30.2010

    My husband is always talking about his father making peas and eggs when he was a child. Will try this one on him for a change of taste!

    Ooh that sounds good!

    [Reply]

  48. Kristin
    03.30.2010

    Would absolutely love a chance to win the cookbook! Just started getting into cooking this year and my almost 90 year old 100% italian grandma would love for me to learn some more italian cooking :) Plus, we just booked our 1st trip to Italy for June so it would be perfect practice for me!! Love the pea recipe… keep those recipes coming! especially easy ones!

    [Reply]

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