And prepare to be romanced by Abruzzo’s finest culinary treasures.

So many people, longing to be in Italy but grounded by the pandemic, are feeling stymied and hungry to bring the country into their homes in any way possible. Heart of Abruzzo, which I’ve helped to launch in the last two weeks, brings some of Italy’s finest culinary offerings to your home. I can attest to the quality because, in doing all of the photography for the products, I’ve happily savored and digested it all (a shoutout to my favorites below). I’ve put together this post as yet another “Italy at home” strategy (along with my posts about great Venice-themed books, and my favorite Italian films).

It’s no secret, I adore Abruzzo

That’s why, when I was asked to participate by the DelSignores, the family who has Abruzzo roots and whose passion breathed life into this gourmet Italian resource, I eagerly joined in. Heart of Abruzzo makes “Heart” the center of its mission for two very important reasons. Firstly, the painstakingly curated assortment comes from food artisans deep in the heart of Abruzzo. Secondly, these aren’t corporate giants. They are producers, often working on a small scale, who pour passion (heart) and purpose into everything they create. Believe me, there were plenty of worthy contenders, but only those who create with love and dedication to the rich Abruzzese traditions made the cut!

Heart of Abruzzo demands passion and love as key product ingredients.

Pasta that is anything but average.

Zaccagni and Verrigni are the two key players for traditional pasta (a killer resource for gluten-free pasta is below). Both remain faithful to time-honored pasta making traditions and they deliver an end result of pastas that aren’t merely blank canvases for sauces. No, they stand on their own and are equal partners when married with delicious sauces. Be sure to read up on the Heart of Abruzzo website about the techniques of how these pastas are produced—techniques that create a texture that captures the sauces rather than allowing them to slide off and into the bottom of your dish (who wants to resort to sopping most of the sauce up with bread?).

My favorites:

Zaccagni Penne Rigate (learn more here)

For me, this is a can’t-go-wrong mainstay pasta choice. I love it with spicy sausage, pepperoncini, extra virgin olive oil, and grated mature pecorino.

Verrigni Linguine al limone (learn more here)

Damn, this stuff is good. No wonder top chefs choose Verrigni pastas (and call them out on their menus). The lemon flavor is delicate and we added fresh shrimp from our local market, parsley, and extra virgin olive oil. We garnished with thin lemon slices. YUM YUM YUM!

Heart of Abruzzo brings you Verrigni Italian pasta, sought after by top Italian chefs

Gluten-Free Italian Pasta

Okay, I’m going to make a pretty major claim here. Farabella has figured out how to make gluten-free pasta as good, maybe even better than traditional pasta. No more second class status. No sad faces for people who have gluten sensitivities thinking that they’re missing out. I mainly eat gluten-free pasta and Farabella is my new best friend. I love regular pasta but it doesn’t agree with me when I have it too often.

“How good could this be?” I asked myself when I prepared Farabella Gluten-Free Fusilli (learn more here). I was certain it would be the same as the many other gluten-free options I’d tried. You know, bland and difficult to cook (i.e. deliver a richly textured al dente presentation). Man, was I wrong. I was practically turning cartwheels at this discovery when I put the first forkful in my mouth. And, my Italian spouse (formerly a chef) was equally as enthusiastic!

My favorite:

Farabella Gluten-Free Spaghetti (learn more here)

I love how well this spaghetti reaches al dente status. I’m happy to have this with fresh pesto, a traditional red sauce (topped with freshly grated aged Parmigiano), or my favorite, with pancetta and pepperoncino (hot pepper—it ain’t hot enough until the top of my head is sweating!).

Heart of Abruzzo brings you extraordinary gluten-free pasta from Farabella

Sauces and Condiments

Heart of Abruzzo has launched with two beautifully crafted red sauces (tradizionale and arrabbiata), a porcini/truffle cream sauce), and a black truffle sauce. And, if you’re looking for a super gourmet medley of olives, there’s Ursini’s Cocktail di olive.

My favorite:

Ursini Arrabbiata Sauce (learn more here).

Arrabbiata” means “angry.” If you haven’t figured it out by now, I gravitate to the spicy choices. I create my own Amatriciana sauce with guanciale (pork cheek) using either spaghetti or bucatini (soon-to-be added to the Heart of Abruzzo collection).

Heart of Abruzzo brings you sauces that will make your taste buds sing, like Ursini Arrabbiata

Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Ursini’s Extra Virgin Olive Oils include options flavored in lemon, lime, orange. Then there is Pignatelli’s Black Truffle Oil, great with simple pasta or with artisanal cheeses.

Heart of Abruzzo brings you masterfully rendered extra virgin olive oil
Heart of Abruzzo brings you masterfully crafted Italian extra virgin olive oil.

Ursini Opera Mastra Extra Virgin Olive Oil (learn more here)

“Opera Mastra” means “Masterpiece,” and this one lives up to its name. Use this one to finish a dish, or for dipping with freshly baked bread. I like sipping it in a small tumbler to appreciate its elegant taste.

Italian Confetti

Forget Jordan almonds. They are mere copycats to the real deal crafted by the Italian masters (for centuries no-less), the Pelino Family. Scoring these world-famous treasures was a real feat by Heart of Abruzzo. Pelino IS the most sought after name in confectionary covered almonds (and other nuts) for luminary events for the likes of the British Royal family. They were an integral part of Meghan’s and Harry’s wedding celebration!

I’m not usually a fan of sugary treats, but when I was doing the photography of all the amazing flavors, I kept sampling and sampling.

My favorite:

Pelino Tiramisù.

This is one of the flavors currently available only through special order. It’s the featured “bright pink” creation in the video below. I was skeptical when I first tried it. How could a treat this small live up to being called “Tiramisù.” Well, I can vouch that it does. And, it’s just one of the many, many options that the Pelino masters create.

So, if you’re planning an unforgettable event, reach out to Heart of Abruzzo, and they, along with the masters at Pelino, will help you create something tailormade.

I encourage you to watch the Heart of Abruzzo video to learn more!

Last, and certainly not least, the wines!

I’ll be sure to go into more depth about the wines and Proseccos that Heart of Abruzzo offers in a follow-up post, but rest assured, you’ll want to taste and appreciate these. For now, all the wines are “coming soon,” so I encourage you to stay tuned for their arrival so that you can order and get them. My prediction is that they will go fast.

I will leave you with this teaser: The wines come from Abruzzo’s oldest winery. The Pietrantonj Cantina is documented as such and has been a revered family-run operation for over 150 years.

Take a tour at and be sure to subscribe.

Heart of Abruzzo brings you Cerano wines from Pietrantonj, Abruzzo's oldest cantina