Pepper and Pancetta Toriglioni | From Italy to Iran: Con Amore! (Viva Italia!)

Hi all! This glorious pepper and pancetta toriglioni pasta concoction is a yummy guest post by my treasured Italian friends Francesca (who wrote the recipe and the story) and Stefano (who did the photography.)

Many of you fellow bloggers already know and are fans of this talented Italian power couple, but for those of you not in the know, borrow two feet in addition to your own two feet (rough translation of a Persian saying, ha ha) and run and check out their food (authentic Italian cuisine & riveting storytelling), wine (reviews and inspired pairings – Stefano is a certified sommelier) and photography (outstanding nature and wildlife shots) blogs. I was already entirely “in like” with Francesca and Stefano as bloggers (I just really dig their vibe, you know, Italians and Iranians do share many cultural sensibilities believe it or not) and then we met in person and since, I’m just smitten and kookoo crazy about them with admiration and affection and can not say enough good things about them.

How we met in real life is that one Polar Vortex winter night, they threw a dinner party in their beautiful home, which ended up being a blogger’s summit of sorts! Of the 8 of us present, 6 were bloggers: Francesca, Stefano, Suzanne, Anatoli, and Oliver and me. Shockingly, none of us blogged about our get-together! But I must break the silence! Here’s a blurry Gif of a few snapshots of the evening. The 1st pic is the chic table setting in the dining room & the last pic is the kitchen in the final aftermath of the festivities!

The statistical breakdown of the dinner party:

1 cheerfully elegant home. 2 hosts. 6 guests. 3 food bloggers. 3 wine bloggers. 2 blog-tolerating civilians. 4 lawyers (only 2 currently practicing.) 2 American-born Americans. 6 accented-Americans. 1 excited puppy. 1 adorable princess. Tons of lip-smacking appetizers and delicious food. 100 bottles of various types of wine (only slightly exaggerating.) Countless good memories. Immeasurably divine hospitality. One fabulous, fabulous evening!

And with that, I finally give you the divine Francesca! (The most tenderhearted and warmest introvert I ever did meet! And oh, one more thing, do go and check out this wonderful gem of a book that Francesca recommended. It is one of my favorite readings – intriguing, delightful, elegant and cool. Basically: just like Fransesca herself!) 

Peppers and pancetta tortiglioni

I have been lucky enough to get to meet Azita in person a few months ago. I don’t remember how we found each other on the blogosphere but I remember how I felt at the beginning of our “relationship”… cautious.

I have always been a big introvert and extremely good at keeping my distance from people – a huge disappointment due to a friendship that fell apart a couple of years ago didn’t help, and actually ended up making me even more skeptical, if possible, when it comes to meeting new people, either in person or over the internet.

However, when I started reading Azita’s posts, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the cheerfulness, the lightness and the language richness of her writing style.

There is no doubt that her country, culture and culinary traditions are fascinating in and of themselves, but she is astonishingly capable to write about them in such an articulate and eclectic way that every time I read one of her posts I have the impression of reading one chapter of “One Thousand and One Nights”, where flavors, aromas, perfumes and ancient customs all blend in together to give birth to something magical. (Editor’s note: Blushing! Stop! No, go on! Ha ha! Thank you!!!))

When I was about to meet her in person, I was nervous. I’m always nervous when I have to meet new people. It is simply not my thing! 😉 As soon as she stepped into my house, she came toward me and she hugged me and kissed me as if we had known each other for years. I will never forget that hug. Why? The warmth that her hug gave me as a human being was totally unexpected and yet so refreshing and fulfilling!

When I had to pick the dish to be published on Azita’s wonderful blog as a guest post, I immediately went for a pasta dish with peppers. Why? Well, I’m Italian and pasta is one of the emblems of my culinary tradition. So no doubt there! 🙂 The reason I picked peppers is because I think they represent Azita in her fullness. Their color is so vibrant that they bring cheerfulness and happiness in your life as soon as you look at them and their taste is so strongly flavorful and overwhelming that as soon as you eat them your taste buds are literally pervaded by their richness the same way I was by Azita’s hug that Sunday afternoon.

So from Italy to Iran – one way – with love! (Editor’s Note: Viva Italia! And the love runneth deep and runneth both ways!)

Peppers and pancetta tortiglioni

For 2 Servings

  • 2 peppers
  • 4 oz, chopped pancetta
  • 1 leek
  • 4 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
  • 6/7 oz, pasta of your choice
  • 2 Tbsp, grated Parmigiano cheese
  • four/five thyme stalks
  • Ground black pepper
  • salt


Preheat your oven to 400F. 

  1. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Rinse the peppers under cold water, dry them and place them on a baking sheet (I always put some parchment paper on my baking sheet to be sure that nothing sticks 🙂 ). Bake for about 20 minutes (or until the peppers are cooked), take them out of the oven and, with the help of a knife and fork, remove the skin of the peppers.
  2. In the meantime, cut off the green top of the leek and its root. Discard the outer layer. Cut the leek in half lengthwise. Rinse the halves well under water. On a chopping board, slice the leek thinly and evenly. In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil, add the leek slices, season with salt and pepper (to taste) and toss to coat. Add some water and stir occasionally until the water evaporates. Set aside.
  3. In another skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of oil, add the pancetta and fry, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta gets golden and crispy. Set aside.
  4. Put a large pot of salted water over the stove to boil. While the water is warming up, place the peppers, the leek slices, some thyme leaves and 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a blender or a food processor. Season with salt and pepper (to taste) and blend everything until you obtain a smooth sauce. Transfer the sauce to a pot and warm it on a very low heat.
  5. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and put it in the pot where you warmed the sauce and toss to coat. Add the pancetta and toss to coat.

Put the pasta into the serving plates, dust the top of each plate with some Parmigiano cheese and garnish the plate with some thyme leaves.


Francesca Xx

Grazie mille for the lovely guest post caro Francesca! And now, I plan to go and make and eat your pasta dish so that I can commence to resemble Sophia Loren.

Arrivederci dear readers until next!

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Comments (52)

  • apuginthekitchen 7 years ago Reply

    OH WOW, so glad that you blogged about our wonderful evening, I feel remiss that I didn’t. It was wonderful and I LOVE the guest post from Francesca who I love and I am in awe of her culinary skills, and love her blog. Ciao Francesca, I really loved the party it was wonderful and you and Stefano and the Princess and the pup were wonderful hosts. Thanks Azita for doing this.

    Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    Ciao Suzanne! Thank you so much for your kindness. That night was fantastic and I think we should get together again … sooner than later. 😉 So you can see how Sofia has grown! Plus I still “owe” you a … secret recipe! 😉

    apuginthekitchen 7 years ago

    I really hope we can get together really soon, it was a wonderful evening and your hospitality was so warm and inviting it was like seeing a close friend not someone I have never met in person. Thank you for that and I do so want that secret recipe.

  • apuginthekitchen 7 years ago Reply

    Reblogged this on apuginthekitchen and commented:
    I have to reblog this, it was such a wonderful night that I didn’t blog about and I am so thrilled that Azita did. I LOVE Francesca and Stefano and everyone that was there and I wanted to share this great pasta recipe with you from Francesca (Floras Table)….

  • Amanda 7 years ago Reply

    What a beautiful and thoughtful post. I love the same things about you and I totally identify with Francesca’s reluctance to let people in. I”m extroverted, but very careful about getting to know people. Lovely recipe and photos. I love that she uses peppers to represent you. <3.

    Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    Hello Amanda! Thank you for your nice words. I think you used the right word! Careful … there is nothing wrong about being careful with people you just met. According to my experience, it is the only way to avoid huge disappointments.

    Amanda 7 years ago

    I totally agree. Especially if you have big heart and give your all to friendships.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago

    Belated but have to pipe in to say that Francesca is the kindest & warmest introvert I’ve ever met! We have to persuade you to join the mix Amanda. And trust me you guys, I’m an introvert too, I’m just a social and noisy one! ;D xoxo & love

  • Chelsweets 7 years ago Reply

    Looks so delicious!!

  • Bonnie Eng 7 years ago Reply

    That pasta looks amazing! And gosh, how gorgeous is Sophia Loren!? 🙂

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    luscious, voluptuous, gorgeous!

  • Eat with Me Istanbul 7 years ago Reply

    You all look so happy. I am also a big introvert and that is why I like writing and deliver my affection through good not words. I will definitely look out for the book as I am a huge fan of food history.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    I know exactly what you mean and you are definitely most expressive through your writing which I enjoy immensely. <3

  • ChgoJohn 7 years ago Reply

    Azita could not have selected a better guest to host for her and did you deliver, Francesca. This pasta dish is just the way I like them: flavorful and fast. I cannot wait to try this!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Francesca was the perfect hostess and the perfect guest poster!

  • I loved everything about this post Azita and Francesca! Your wonderful evening together… your kindness and friendship for one another… and this beautiful (and thoughtful) pasta dish! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Wish you lived close by Margot! You would briskly be summoned to the blogger’s summit!

    Ohhhh, I wish I lived close by too! 🙂

  • lapetitecasserole 7 years ago Reply

    That’s awesome guys! It seems that you had great fun, blogging is not just a sharing recipes! I can imagine that that pasta was scrumptious, we all know how talented Francesca and Stefano are! Peppers and pancetta is a great mix for pasta!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    It was basically la dolce vita!

  • I must agree with every word that has been spoken here, including that your recipe is mouth drooling, I love your and Azita’s exchange of hugs! Blogging is well about sharing compassion!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    I was skeptical about relationships formed online but I’ve been thoroughly and pleasantly surprised by the strength and quality of friendships formed this way. (Your acquaintance included!)A huge perk of blogging!

  • Flora 7 years ago Reply

    Lovely post Azita! And the pasta is making me hungry 🙂

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    I hear you, dear Flora, I’m finally getting round to responding to some comments but should have had lunch first, because this post is making me so HUNGRY too! I wish I could munch some of it off the screen.

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 7 years ago Reply

    Fantastico, Francesca! Affarin, Azita! What a lovely gathering in an ‘Italian power couple” home. The only other person I know is ever so wonderful Suzanne. Thank you for posting about it Azita. Dear Fancesca, as always, you have delivered a yummy recipe, and Stefano’s photography is always a pleasure to look at. Magnificent! <3

    Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    Thank you so much, Fae! You are always so kind.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago

    Oh, only if you could have been there too, Fae! Wow, that would have been so wonderful! Ja’t khaleeeeeeee!

  • chef mimi 7 years ago Reply

    Oh my god. What a fabulous slideshow. And recipe. And puppy!!!

    Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    Thank you so much, Mimi! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    tickled pink that you enjoyed the slideshow chef mimi! the recipe speaks for itself and the rambunctious puppy I hear has grown to be a cherished family member

  • talkavino 7 years ago Reply

    This was a fun evening for sure!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Memorably fun! Added a wonderful IRL dimension to reading everyone’s blogs that’s for sure. It was a pleasure meeting you and your better 1/2!

  • Sophie33 7 years ago Reply

    A fantastic evening spend with food bloggers, loved ones & amazing people! The kitchen looked huge, the table was set so lovely & the pasta dish looks wonderful! Cool pics too! x

    Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    Thank you! That’s very nice of you! 🙂

    Sophie33 7 years ago

    😉 xxx

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago

    One day maybe with you too Sophie joon? One can dream! That’d be so lovely

  • laurasmess 7 years ago Reply

    Oh, I love this post so, so much! I feel like I’m looking at photographs of old friends, despite the fact that we’ve never met in person. Thanks for sharing the wonderful images and sentiment Azita, and to the lovely Francesca – your guest post is so warm, genuine and beautiful. I feel encouraged in spirit whilst also drooling over Stefano’s wonderful photography! Oh how I wish I lived close enough to invite you all over for a dinner party! Xxx

    Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    And we would be very happy to accept your invitation! 😉 Thank you very much, Laura!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago

    Francesca, i know you already know this, but Laura has such a lively temperament and exquisite taste, that a party with her would be nothing short of heavenly. Let’s all close our eyes and wish for it to happen and maybe it will! 🙂 xo

  • […] have been fortunate enough to be asked by lovely Azita to write a guest post that she has published on her wonderful blog, Fig and Quince. If you don’t know Azita yet, do yourself a favor: go check her blog out and enter her […]

  • mmmarzipan 7 years ago Reply

    Absolutely stunning post! Wonderful night! And yummy food 😀 <3

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    It was and may I say I found your name yummy as well! Mmmm Mmmm Marzipan! 😀

  • Tracy Lee Karner 7 years ago Reply

    Mmmm. Lovely.
    The GIF made me dizzy, because I was trying SO HARD to recognize everyone.
    Very fun!!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    ha ha, sorry to make you dizzy Tracy! 🙂

    Dina 7 years ago Reply

    Me too, I wish I could slow it down, just a tiny bit! 😉
    Great post, you obviously had an evening not to forget and now we all wish we were there. 🙂
    You did a wonderful job on this one. 🙂

    Francesca 7 years ago

    Thank you, lovely Dina! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago

    the speed is un petit peu intentional in order to preserve a modicum of privacy, ha ha! I’m mean like that! 😉 & I underline your sentiments that lovely Francesca did a wonderful job. 🙂

    Dina 7 years ago

    😀 😀

  • Bizou 7 years ago Reply

    For me nothing is more satisfying than a DELICIOUS bowl of creamy pasta & this recipe looks just like that. Thank you.

  • Bizou 7 years ago Reply

    And about your complement on Azita & her blog you nailed it. Unfortunately I haven met her in person but your description is exactly how I had imagined her to be. In fact I’m not a blogger by any means but when accidentally which I don’t remember how (sorry) I found her, beside the beauty of her illustrations, and ease of navigation through her blog it was her way of writing that mesmerized & captured my attention. So I hope one day we get to meet too.
    Till then thank you Azita joon.

    Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    Thank you so much! I’m very happy we are on the same page! 😉

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Insert the following emoticons here: blushing, smiling, heart, heart, heart! Thank you! <3

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