Dean Martin Loved This 5-Ingredient Pasta Fagioli So Much He Wrote a Song About It

Now that's amore.

<p>Dotdash Meredith / Janet Maples</p>

Dotdash Meredith / Janet Maples

When you think of Dean Martin’s iconic song “That’s Amore,” you can probably hear the opening line used in so many classic movies play in your head; “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.”

However, fans of the song know the Rat Pack singer goes on to list another classic Italian dish: pasta fagioli (or pasta e fagioli). “When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fagioli, that’s amore,” Martin croons. The pasta and bean dish is more than just an apt rhyme for “drool,” Martin is actually singing about one specific version of pasta fagioli that he loves: his mother’s.

In a 2016 episode of "Hallmark Channel Home & Family," Deana Martin, the late Dean Martin’s daughter, shared the recipe for her grandmother Angela’s Pasta Fagioli.

“[My father] loved it, and she taught me how to make it,” she said. “She said I could not teach anybody, I couldn’t tell anybody, it was a secret, and that one day after she passed away that it would bring my dad and me together. And it’s true.”

Deana recalls making the pasta fagioli as a Christmas present for her father about 30 years after his mother's death.

“The look in his eye was unbelievable. He said, ‘Is this what I think it is?’ So I made it for him many many times after that,” Deana said.

What's In Dean Martin's Family Pasta Fagioli Recipe?

So what’s so special about the recipe Dean Martin’s mother made every Sunday? It features a secret ingredient—one that you may have never heard of in the Italian soup. The Martin family recipe includes cinnamon.

In addition to that secret spice, there’s only a handful of other ingredients: cannellini beans, tubetti pasta (or ditalini), onion, water, salt, pepper, and Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnish.

We know when you hear pasta fagioli, you’re probably thinking about the tomato-based soup with broth, beans, and maybe even sausage or ground beef. But, not the Martin family recipe. In fact, Deana said she even got into a spat with Academy Award-winning actress Sophia Loren about the correct way to make pasta fagioli.

“I said, ‘Red beans or white?’ She said, ‘Red.’ I said, ‘No, no, no, you can’t use red beans.’ She said, ‘Garlic?’ I said, ‘No, no, no, you don’t put garlic in it. Then I said, ‘Well, you don’t put tomatoes in it.’ She said, ‘Of course you put tomatoes in it!’ That sounded too much like a minestrone soup to me,” Deana recalled.

The “Hallmark Channel Home & Family” host Debbie Matenopoulos explained that the region of Italy you’re from may play a role in your pasta fagioli recipe. Whether that’s true or Grandma Angela just made up her own recipe isn’t clear. What we do know, however, is that the recipe is really easy to make.

And, despite my preconceived notions about how the soup would taste without tomatoes and with cinnamon added in, I actually really enjoyed the Martins’ pasta fagioli.

It’s an easy comfort food meal that comes together with pantry staple ingredients—so, even if you don’t have tomatoes for your favorite pasta e fagioli recipe, you can still enjoy a version pasta-and-bean soup. My only note is the soup does require some babysitting because the beans and pasta suck up the water very quickly. So don’t think you can just leave it on your stove while you go about your day, or else you will have a very dry plate of beans and pasta rather than a drool-inducing soup.

<p>Bailey Fink</p>

Bailey Fink

How to Make Dean Martin's Favorite Pasta Fagioli


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans

  • 6 cups water

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 cup tubetti or ditalini pasta

  • Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.

  2. Add beans, water, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally, and adding water if it gets too dry.

  3. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions for al dente, or until the pasta is tender. Remove from heat and serve topped with cheese.

This recipe was adapted from "Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter’s Eyes".

Read the original article on All Recipes.