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!

98 Beans of Wisdom to “Peas with Pancetta Plus Divina Cucina’s Secrets from a Tuscan Kitchen Cookbook”
  1. 03.24.2010

    The only thing I love more than a cookbook is free Italian one!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..New Theme: Dark Wood =-.

  2. Oh this looks so easy and delicious. I can’t wait to buy some fresh peas! And thanks for an easy to enter contest. I am getting tired of the ones that require 20 comments from me telling that I follow them, etc…

    Haha, I think the instructions can be more overwhelming than anything…it often gives you more chances to win, but it just *sounds* so confusing! I hear you ๐Ÿ™‚

    .-= Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef´s last blog ..Soups and stews and pasta, oh my! =-.

  3. 03.24.2010

    Sounds like a wonderful cookbook! I am learning to cook so I need all the help I can get!

    (And that photo made me hungry! It’s getting close to lunch time now!)

  4. 03.24.2010

    Mmmm….that sounds delicious!

  5. 03.24.2010

    Yum! That brings back memories of my aunt making huge bowls of piselli con pancetta!
    .-= Nicola Orichuia´s last blog ..With a Little Help from Al Gore =-.

  6. 03.24.2010

    I love peas with pancetta! I’ve always used onion, but I think I may try them with garlic.
    Sometimes I use speck instead of pancetta, that’s good too!

    I don’t ever buy speck here; I don’t know why. I mean I like it well enough. Hmm. Sounds great with peas ๐Ÿ™‚

    .-= KC´s last blog ..The Shock of the New =-.

  7. Lu

    Me, Me Choose me – I love peas and pancetta

  8. 03.24.2010

    Excellent. One of my favorite recipes…though I’m more conversant in Roman/rest of South/Sicilian recipes. This would be a great addition to my kitchen. (Terrific photos, btw.) Just off in a moment to my neighborhood Italian store for pancetta, as I am out. This will be perfect for the spring weather we’re currently (thank God!) experiencing. ciao-meow

    Thank you, and enjoy!

    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Through the Keyhole =-.

  9. Cathy

    Looks really tasty. I love peas, I would probably have to leave the sugar out of the recipe too, as I don’t think my Mr would be too keen.
    .-= Cathy´s last blog ..Friends and family =-.

  10. Engred

    Thanks Michelle – and Judy! I am ready for lunch now!!

  11. sara

    mmm, peas.

  12. yay! I’ve been interested in this book for sure! Always loved reading about her adventures in Florence while we were there – such good food tips ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. 03.24.2010

    This looks great! I love new cooking ideas

  14. AppleTree

    I love peas. I will have to try them this way.

  15. 03.24.2010

    looks lovely, count me in!! yuuuuuummmmmm
    .-= sperlygirl´s last blog ..gentle cycle…please… =-.

  16. 03.24.2010

    Fresh peas say Spring to me, and that sounds good to me! We’re in full-blown Mud Season in Maine…the dirt roads are like quicksand. Bring on the peas!

  17. richard curtis

    What is to say? I love this recipe, I love it… problem is that most of the recipes in life are for 2 or more…..

    My wife is a veggie lady and I am the only one who eats white flour, red meat, cheese, etc.

    These recipes are hard for me to make but then to end up with so much left over….well sighhhhhhhhhhhh

    Ok Michelle send me the cookbook I will try all the recipes and report back.

    A red headed goat? zoweeeeeeeeeeee

    Love and Light,


    This one is actually really easy to make just for one…on the other hand, leftovers are great too. If I happen to make extra (usually P gobbles up any and all peas in sight), they’re great for a little mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack when feeling peckish…I love them cold too ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Missy Manning

    I have already made the potato gnocchi, it was great.. I got the recipe from Lucy’s Kitchen Notebook.. she loves the book.. I would love to win one..

  19. Lucca

    โ€œIn the childhood memories of every good cook, there’s a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.โ€

    I think I am going to love this cookbook!

  20. 03.24.2010

    I am only 2 generations separated from our family in Sicily and love all Italian styles. I’d really enjoy having this cookbook.
    .-= Scott K´s last blog ..Yoplus Review and "Better For You" Giveaway =-.

  21. 03.24.2010

    Pick me! I’m going to finally meet Ms. Divina Judy when she’s in the SF Bay Area next month, and I would love to have it for her to sign.
    .-= food lover kathy´s last blog ..Wine Tasting in Tuscany Along the Chianti Trail =-.

  22. Tawny

    Love being ale to feed my family great homemade food!

  23. Jean

    What a beautiful spring dish!

  24. Beth

    I would love to win this cookbook! Brings back wonderful memories of when I studied in Tuscany in college. Thanks for the opportunity and have a great day!

  25. Paul B

    I collect cook books and this would be a great addition

  26. 03.24.2010

    Yum, must try that recipe soon. Crossing my fingers and hoping to win the cookbook which sounds fabulous. Happy Spring!
    .-= Lucia´s last blog ..Body Art =-.

  27. I love all things Italian!! Especially the food….I would love to win this cookbook!
    .-= Denise @ Creative Kitchen´s last blog ..Getting back into the swing of things and Spring!! =-.

  28. Rob

    This should also work well with Fava beans. Looking forward to my crop this summer!

  29. @kristeneileen

    OK, I admit I am REALLY jonesing for the cookbook, but I just love the recipe as well! I think that the ability to sort of wing it, to use what’s on hand as part of the cooking philosophy that I love SO VERY MUCH about Italian food & food-centered traditions. I am one of those many souls in the world who feels I *MUST* have been an Italiana at some point, in some former life; I just have no other explanation for the undying lifelong love I have for almost all things from that beautiful country where you live. I’m lucky I get to live a little vicariously through you, and thanks to you, Calabria is now on the list of places I have to get to before I bite the dust!

    I love Wednesdays. Yum. Not only is there always good foodiness to be had, but it means tomorrow is Love Thursday! <3 <3

    xx's & oo's to all, especially the kids!

    Hahaha, thanks KE ๐Ÿ™‚ Love Thursdays are rather lovely!

  30. Liz

    Oooh, I’ve been wanting this cookbook for months!

  31. Francesca

    Love peas! Can’t wait to try the recipe! Grazie!

  32. 03.24.2010

    Both my mother and grandmother use to make peas with pasta. I don’t remember them adding pancetta though. It sounds wonderful! I’ll try it when I get all the ingredients.
    I was just going to make some green chili stew. Tomorrow, it will be Piselli alla Fiorentina on my menu! Thanks for the recipe!

  33. Teresa

    This looks great. Can’t have too many beautiful cookbooks laying around now can we ??!! Would LOVE a free one ๐Ÿ™‚ Dreaming of Italy….

  34. 03.24.2010

    By just looking at the photo, I was about to make a quick two beans crying out to the world you had totally forgotten the wonderful Tuscan “extravergine” olive oil, but I reread your ingredients and, there they are, 8 savoury tbs. of oil which, added to the molten lard of the pancetta, *should* give some more fatty glisten to your photo. What happened? Did you perhaps drain off the condiment for the sake of a less soggy image?

    Anyway, thanks for great ideas from Calabria… and from Tuscany!

    Well the pancetta isn’t rendered in the recipe, so there goes that fat, and I may have used less oil, I don’t know–I don’t tend to measure. That said, as the peas are also covered in water to cook, the oil does get quite diluted. I didn’t make any special effort to make them not soggy for the photo, but maybe I just like mine on the firm side so that they never got mushy and oily? Boh.

    .-= Carlo´s last blog ..Incontri del Cammino =-.

  35. J.Doe

    I love peas but am not fond of pancetta or prosciutto (a sin in Florence). It’s a nice picture though.

  36. 03.24.2010

    Ciao… I could always use new ideas! Now that I’m here, I find it still takes a bit of effort to be creative in the kitchen.

  37. Anna

    I love this cook book. I am an affectioanted of cook books!!!!!

  38. 03.24.2010

    I need all the help I can get in the cooking department and am always in search of something new, creative and fun. I’ll make anything once and love to be inspired!

    Buon appetito and here’s looking at you – kid! (get it…just a little goat humor?) ok, ok…I’m moseying on back over to FB now!)
    .-= Melissa Muldoon´s last blog ..โ€ข la torre, la scala e la luna =-.

  39. 03.24.2010

    After Tweeting with Judy for some time, I am definitely curious to read her book and to remember the years when I used to live in Florence….
    .-= Alessio´s last blog ..A taste savior =-.

  40. 03.24.2010

    Given I love cookbooks count me in. I like the idea that the cover is illustrated. My parents are from the island of Malta and while the language is not at all similar to Italian the words for peas is the same-interesting. I actually made quinoa with peas the other night.
    .-= Esme´s last blog ..Buckley’s Story by Ingrid King Review =-.

  41. 03.25.2010

    Oh, pick me, PICK ME! I would love and adore just about any free Tuscan cookbook, but this one looks especially pleasing. ๐Ÿ˜€

  42. Ellen

    Tomorrow – peas and pancetta!!!

  43. Beth

    Oooh I would love to have this cookbook! I’m already planning out the garden & peas are going to play a big part as they are major fave around here! Looks yummy!

  44. 03.25.2010

    This is so funny – I had a Tuscan recipe for WCW today, too! It was a salad that we tasted in Florence. Your friend’s cookbook sounds absolutely wonderful.

    The Piselli recipe looks marvelous!
    .-= jen of a2eatwrite´s last blog ..What’s Cooking Wednesday: Accademia Salad =-.

  45. 03.25.2010

    My mother makes peas this way all the time! – I have to make some but I will add pasta – and the cookbook is a must have!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Monicaโ€™s Fine Foods Featuring Calabrian Olive Oil (and a giveaway!) =-.

  46. 03.25.2010

    I just did a post on fresh English Peas today! They are so delicious prepared simply.. I would love this cookbook. My hubby is a good Italian boy, so I know he would appreciate it!
    .-= bunkycooks´s last blog ..Remembering Spain with a Pan of Paella! =-.

  47. Cathy

    Can’t wait to try the recipe. I love peas and I love pancetta. I’ll be in Italy (Venice and Pienza area) in May. Maybe there will be fresh peas in the organic garden! I collect and read cookbooks (my friends think I’m nuts) and would love to win this one to add to my collection.

  48. Aimee Eck

    That book is beautiful! Pancetta is one of my favorite things in the world lol! I would put it in anything and it would be wonderful!

  49. Poo

    As ever, you do it the best way!
    I have been following your posts since quite recently, I must admit, but they are quite interesting, and candid.
    They make me feel as if I am not reading a post, but am chatting with a friend about anything and everything.
    The most beautiful thing is the blog name “bledingexpresso” Very thoughtful and creative!
    Good work, and all the best!


    Thank you! That’s so sweet ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. 03.25.2010

    The peas look delicious! I will definitely riff on this dish the moment fresh peas become available. Thanks for the inspiration!
    .-= Teri´s last blog ..A Dog Hair of a Quoteโ€ฆ =-.

  51. Tanisha

    oh yummmy.. Now I am excited…
    .-= Tanisha´s last blog ..Eat Pray Loveโ€“the movie =-.

  52. Trina

    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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

  53. Ciaocristina

    Love la cucina Toscana! The book looks great. Cristina

  54. 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ We almost exclusively use red onions, as was used there–they’re often pretty white on the inside.

  55. 03.25.2010

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

  56. 03.25.2010

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

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

  58. 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… =-.

  59. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  60. 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. =-.

  61. 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.

  62. Jan

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

  63. 03.25.2010

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

  64. Linda

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

  65. Susan Cotton

    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.

  66. eleftheria

    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 !!!!!

  67. Pat Griffin

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

  68. 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!

  69. 03.25.2010

    I just won a bottle of fine olive oil from, 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? =-.

  70. Bonnie Bee

    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.

  71. Josephine

    hope I win!!

  72. 03.25.2010

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

  73. Diane

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

  74. Gabriella

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

  75. Jill

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

  76. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚
    .-= anne´s last blog ..A wonderful surprise postcard………………. =-.

  77. 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 =-.

  78. 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? =-.

  79. 03.25.2010

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

  80. 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 =-.

  81. 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!

  82. Christy S

    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.

  83. Gil

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

  84. Tertia

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

  85. Antonia

    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.

  86. Linda

    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!)

  87. Judy

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

  88. 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….

  89. 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 =-.

  90. Connie

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

  91. Madeline

    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.

  92. Francine

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

  93. 03.29.2010

    Yum…I actually made something like that recently!

  94. 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! =-.

  95. Sara Van Artsdalen

    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.

  96. Don S

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  97. Jean

    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!

  98. Kristin

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake