Pasta Fajoli – A Favorite Soup Recipe “MaMa Mia Cucina”


Warm and comforting, nutritious, filling, can feel a large crowd, economical and easy to prepare.  

Throughout the month of February in my cooking classes, book signing events, and corporate cooking demonstration events, my grandmother’s recipe for ‘Pasta Fajoli’ received rave reviews.  So much so, that I thought I would post it for those who were unable to join us in February.  You can also find it on page 41 of “MaMa Mia Cucina.”

Pasta Fajoli

Pasta e Fajoli


1/2 pound small pasta, cooked and drained

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon fresh chopped, Italian flat-leaf parsley

6 cups chicken stock fresh or canned

2 cups tomato sauce

2 cups navy or northern beans, canned or dried (cooked)

freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese to taste


Cook the pasta al dente´ and drain.  Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, parsley and beans.  Cook slowly for 30 minutes.  Add cooked pasta to the mixture.  Heat through and serve with grated cheese.


Cooking Notes: 

  • Whole wheat pasta was substituted for traditional pasta.
  • For gluten-free cooking, substitute rice pasta.
  • Read all labels for gluten-free cooking to ensure that they are, in fact, gluten free.
  • If time allows, use dried beans instead of canned and homemade chicken stock for canned.
  • For vegan cooking, omit the cheese and substitute chicken stock for vegetable stock
  • I like to use about ½ cup of freshly chopped parsley – it adds a great flavor
  • My favorite tomato product is, of course, home-grown and freshly canned.  For purchase, I like Pomi for their fresh and homemade flavor.
  • When using canned beans, rinse well with cold water before adding to your favorite dishes.
  • Add some cooked spinach for a little variety.
  • Gather the kids in the kitchen for this one – it is so easy!
  • Add a fresh garden salad for a quick and easy meal at home.
  • Soups are satisfying and nutritious any time of year.


Memories of my grandfather:

I have heard this dish referred to as a peasant dish, and now I see it on the menus of some of the finest Italian restaurants.  I remember my grandfather loving this soup with a loaf of fresh Italian bread and a big glass of his homemade wine.  He would say to me, “you like some pasta fajoli?  You like some good bread?  You like a kick in the pants?”  You just don’t say “no” to good food!

On the 5th Day of Christmas – Another EASY Holiday Appetizer

On the 5th Day of Christmas…

 Serve the stuffed tomatoes by themselves, with crackers or crostini, or among a crudité tray. Another easy and delicious appetizer recipe.  Without the crackers, they are a gluten-free alternative.  Love the red and green colors of nature.

Gorgonzola Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes


  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Gorgonzola Cheese
  • Pistachio nuts, finely chopped


To prep, wash cherry tomatoes, slice and remove the top, and scoop and remove all seeds.  Crumble the gorgonzola cheese, and finely chop shelled pistachio nuts.  Stuff each cherry tomato with crumbled gorgonzola cheese and sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.   Serve on tiny plates, or serve on a tray as an appetizer assortment.


GochYa Cooking on Philadelphia’s NBC – The 10! Show

Join me on NBC’s

The 10! Show for a Food Segment! 

Tune in on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, at 11am est, for my first ‘Food Segment’ on NBC’s The 10! Show!  Invite your friends, and pass it on… 

Thank you for celebrating with me! 



Buon Appetito! 

Cynthia Goch   


Week 8 – Summer Beet, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad


 Week #8 of Summer Salads – Let’s talk Beets!

Notable for their sweet, earthy flavor, beets have the highest sugar content on any vegetable, while remaining very low in calories.   Beets are considered a root vegetable with two edible parts – the greens, which grow above the ground, and the beet ‘bulb’, which grows as ‘the root’.  Aside from the red beet, these earthy root vegetables are available in other hues of purple, pink, golden, white, and even striped.  The ‘tiny’ baby radish-sized beet that is harvested too early, which are sometimes found in farmer’s markets, are considered a delicacy.  Enjoy this wonderfully sweet vegetable roasted and sliced with olive oil, salt and pepper, or enjoy the salad recipe below:

Roasted Beet, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad

1 bunch of beets (usually 4-5 beets), roasted, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces

2 cups of fresh organic arugula, washed and patted dry

4 radishes, thinly sliced

3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

olive oil

sea salt

Corn Bread (optional)

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wash beets and remove greens.  Line a baking tray with foil, place the beets on the foil-lined pan, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately 35-45 minutes (or, test by inserting a knife into the largest part of the beet – it should slide easily through the middle of the tender beet).  Cool, peel, and chop the beets into small, bite-size squares.

Wash arugula and pat dry.  Wash and thinly slice radishes.  In a salad bowl, combine the chopped beets, radishes, arugula and goat cheese.  Toss with a vinaigrette and plate.

Optional Note:  Grill slices of cornbread by brushing each side with olive oil, place in a hot saute pan and grill each side until lightly golden brown.  Serve alongside the beet salad.  Makes for a nice presentation!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste 

Buon Appetito!