If you're a fan of cheese and pasta, then you're in for a treat. Penne ai Quattro Formaggi, or Four Cheese Pasta is a delicious and indulgent dish that combines the creaminess of four different Italian cheeses with your favorite pasta. This dish is perfect for a cozy night in or a special occasion when you want to impress your guests.
Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi is basically the Italian version of classic Mac&Cheese. It can be found in almost every Italian restaurant and this homemade version is just as delicious! The four cheeses used in this recipe can vary, but popular choices include Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Mozzarella cheese, Provolone, Taleggio, and Pecorino Romano cheeses. These different kinds of cheeses are perfect for melting and grating, and they complement each other's flavors perfectly. The result is a rich and creamy sauce that coats the pasta perfectly, making every bite a delight for your taste buds.
This delicious four-cheese pasta recipe is super easy to make at home with simple ingredients. It's a perfect cozy comfort food for a weeknight dinner with your family or for a meal with friends. You can also elevate the basic version by transferring the cheesy pasta to a baking dish and baking it in the oven to get a crispy golden crust of Parmesan cheese.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cheeses: If you don't have all four cheeses listed in the recipe, you can substitute them with other types of cheese. For example, you can use cheddar, gouda, or fontina as semi-hard cheese. You can also use Brie, Stracchino, Taleggio, cream cheese, or other soft cheeses. Be creative and experiment with different cheese combinations to find the one that suits your taste.
- Pasta: The recipe calls for penne pasta, but you can use any type of pasta you have on hand. Fusilli, rigatoni, or farfalle are good options. Just make sure to cook the pasta according to the package instructions and don't overcook it.
- Milk: If you don't have milk, you can use half-and-half or heavy cream instead. Keep in mind that the sauce will be more or less creamy and rich if you use a lower-fat or higher-fat dairy product.
- Butter: If you don't have butter, you can use olive oil or vegetable oil instead. Keep in mind that the flavor of the sauce will be different if you use oil instead of butter.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is essential to make roux, which is what makes the cream smooth and velvety.
See the recipe card for full quantities.
This Four Cheese Pasta recipe is versatile and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few variations to try:
- Gluten-Free: If you're following a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free pasta instead of regular pasta. You can also make a roux with gluten-free flour or corn starch instead of wheat flour.
- Spicy: For a spicy kick, add some diced jalapenos or red chili pepper flakes to the sauce. Adjust the amount to your desired level of heat.
- Pumpkin: To add a fall twist to this dish, stir in some pureed pumpkin to the sauce. It adds a subtle sweetness and creaminess to the dish.
- Vegetables: You can add a variety of vegetables to this dish to make it more nutritious. Sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and roasted red peppers are all great options.
- Bacon: For a smoky flavor, cook some bacon until crispy and crumble it over the top of the pasta before serving.
Instructions with photos
Step 1. Make a roux with butter and flour in a large skillet on medium heat, then add the milk and bring to a simmer while whisking.
Step 2. Turn down the heat and add the different cheeses to the white sauce.
Step 3. Mix well until all the cheeses are melted. It's okay if the cheese mixture is a bit chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4. Add the cooked pasta to the pasta sauce and mix before serving.
Store your leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can reheat the pasta on the stove, in the microwave, or in the oven. If your pasta seems a little dry, you can add some extra sauce or a splash of milk to help bring it back to life.
When it comes to serving four-cheese pasta, there are a few things to keep in mind to elevate the dish to the next level. Here are some serving suggestions to help you make the most of your meal.
This pasta with creamy cheese sauce is a rich and flavorful dish that can stand on its own as a main course. However, if you want to add some variety to your meal, consider pairing it with a side dish. Here are some options:
- Garlic Bread: The buttery, garlicky flavors of garlic bread complement the creaminess of the pasta perfectly. Plus, the crunch of the bread adds a nice texture contrast.
- Salad: A fresh, light salad can help balance out the richness of the pasta. Consider using arugula or mixed greens, and dress the salad simply with some extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
To truly elevate your four cheese pasta experience, consider pairing it with a glass of wine. Here are some suggestions:
- Chardonnay: This full-bodied white wine pairs well with the creamy, cheesy flavors of the pasta.
- Pinot Noir: If you prefer red wine, opt for a light-bodied Pinot Noir. Its earthy notes complement the richness of the pasta without overpowering it.
You can use a variety of different types of cheese, as long as they melt nicely.
It could be from too much flour or thick cheeses. Add a bit of milk and mix well until it's fully incorporated and you get a nice creamy sauce.
You can use gluten-free pasta and substitute the flour with cornstarch to make it gluten-free.
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Four Cheese Pasta
- 6.5 oz Short Pasta
- 1 cup Milk or Cream
- 1 teaspoon Butter
- 2 teaspoon Flour
- 2 tablespoon Gorgonzola
- 2 tablespoon grated Semi-Hard Cheese, such as Gruyere, Provolone, Gouda, etc
- 2 tablespoon Parmigiano, grated
- 1 tablespoon Soft Cheese, such as Brie, Stracchino, Taleggio, cream cheese, etc
- Black Pepper
- Bring to boil a large pot of salted water and toss the pasta in. Follow the pasta package directions.
- In the meanwhile in a saucepan melt the butter and mix in the flour to make a roux. Cook for a minute or two, then add the room temperature milk or cream. Mix with a wooden spoon until the roux is completely melted.
- Turn down the heat and add all the grated cheeses. Let the cheeses melt and stir once in a while to make sure they don't stick to the pan.
- Add black pepper (salt may not be necessary, but taste just to make sure) and if the sauce is too thick, add some more milk.
- Stir thoroughly until you have a smooth cream, drain the pasta al dente and add it to the sauce.
- Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.