Soft pillowy potato gnocchi coated in a silken cheesy sauce made of four different cheese. This classic Italian dish is one of the top comfort food recipes and a must for cheese lovers. The creamy sauce has Gouda, Parmigiano, Brie, and the star, Gorgonzola. The combination of four different cheese will make your tastebuds dance for joy.
When I was little, every time we went out for dinner in a restaurant, I was ordering the same thing most of the time: Gnocchi ai Quattro Formaggi. Four Cheese Gnocchi. I've always been a foodie and an absolute cheese lover, so a plate of steamy soft potato gnocchi covered in a blanked of four different melted cheese it was heaven to me.
My grandma used to make Four cheese pasta at home as well. The funny thing is that the cheese sauce came out slightly different every single time. That's because you can use whichever cheese you have leftover in your fridge in the sauce (as long as it melts). So the taste can change every time but it will always be oh so delicious.
The only cheese I can never exclude and without which it could not be a proper Italian cheese sauce is the Gorgonzola. Its particular taste is what makes this sauce as good as it is. You can substitute it with any blue cheese of course, or if you don't like it feel free to omit it but it will not be the same. 🙂
This recipe is classic and good as is. But if you want to make it a little bit extra, you could transfer the 4 cheese gnocchi in a baking dish and top them with grated parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes until you get a crispy crust on your baked gnocchi. *chef's kiss*
How to make Potato Gnocchi
Potato Gnocchi may seem difficult and time-consuming but they're actually very easy to make. If you don't want to waste time making the pretty iconic stripes with a gnocchi board, you can have them ready in less than 20 minutes.
To make the Gnocchi dough, boil starchy potatoes with their skin on until you can easily pierce them with a fork. I suggest using small potatoes for a quicker cooking time. If you're in a hurry you can also peel them and chop them into small cubes. This method will make your potatoes ready in a short time but they will also absorb more water. This may make your Gnocchi a little bit chewier because you'll need to use more flour (but they'll be still great, I used this method many times).
When the potatoes are fully cooked, pass them through a potato ricer. Then mix them with the salt and flour when they're still warm. Transfer to a wooden board dusted with flour and roll the dough into a cord about 1.5 inches (2 cm) thick. Cut it into small cubes, then roll the cubes on a Gnocchi board or a fork to make the stripes.
How to make Four Cheese sauce
The four cheese sauce is very much similar to how you would make the classic mac & cheese sauce. The main difference is that you use multiple Italian (and French) cheeses. In my honest opinion, this is the absolute best sauce for gnocchi.
In a pot, melt a teaspoon of butter and then add 2 teaspoons of flour to make a paste called roux. This paste will make the béchamel base needed to get a creamy sauce. Cook the roux for a couple of minutes, then add the room temperature milk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the roux is completely dissolved in the milk. Add the cheeses and let them melt completely. If the sauce is still too liquidy you can let it simmer for a few minutes until it reduces.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and keep it warm until the gnocchi are ready. When you drain the cooked Gnocchi, transfer them directly into the sauce and mix well. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little bit of milk or of the cooking water.
FAQ & Tips
Of course, you can use whichever cheese you have available and find the best combination you prefer. But I encourage you to always add Gorgonzola or blue cheese to give the sauce the classic "Quattro Formaggi" taste.
Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using potato starch in place of the all-purpose flour.
You can reheat leftovers either in the microwave or on the stove, but I suggest you to add a few tablespoons of milk in the sauce to make it smooth and creamy again.
Yes, you can absolutely use store-bought gnocchi and serve them with the four cheese sauce. But homemade gnocchi are incredibly softer and dreamy so trust me and try to make them homemade if you can! 🙂
If you like this recipe, try also these other Gnocchi recipes:
- Classic Potato Gnocchi with butter and sage
- Spicy Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Stuffed Gorgonzola Gnocchi
- Stuffed Tomato and Mozzarella Gnocchi
- Gnudi, Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi
You can find step-by-step photos, tips and a video in the post above.
Four Cheese Gnocchi
- 7 oz Starchy Potatoes
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Milk or Cream
- 1 tsp Butter
- 2 tsp Flour
- 2 tbsp Gorgonzola
- 2 tbsp Semi-Hard Cheese, such as Gouda or Gruyere, grated
- 2 tbsp Parmigiano, grated
- 1 tbsp Soft Cheese, such as Brie, Stracchino, Taleggio, cream cheese, etc
- Black Pepper
Make the Gnocchi
- Boil the potatoes until they become fork tender (about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size).
- Drain, peel, and mash the potatoes with a potato ricer, then add the flour while they are still warm (overwise they will become sticky). Mix well until you get a nice soft non-sticky dough.
- Cut the dough in smaller parts and roll them with your palms to get a long roll about 1 inch (2cm) thick. Keep the surface and the dough smooth with flour to prevent stickiness.
- Now with a dough-cutter cut the gnocchi about 2-3 cm long. You can then roll them on a fork or on a gnocchi board to get the typical gnocchi lines. Let them rest on a clean towel until you’re ready to cook them.
Make the 4 Cheese sauce
- 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 cheese melt and stir occasionally to make sure they don't stick to the pan.
- Add black pepper and season to taste. If the sauce is too thick, add some more milk. Stir thoroughly until you have a smooth cream.
- In a large pot bring to boil salted water and toss the gnocchi one by one so they will not stick. It will take 1-2 minutes to cook.
- As soon as the gnocchi float to the surface, it means they are ready! Take them out with a skimmer and add them directly in the pot with the cheese sauce.
- Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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