Four Cheese Gnocchi are soft pillowy potato gnocchi coated in a silken cheesy sauce made of four different cheeses. 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 types of cheese will make your tastebuds dance for joy.
My grandma used to make Four cheese pasta at home very often. 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 left over 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 Quattro Formaggi 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 cheesy gnocchi dish is basically the Italian version of gnocchi mac and cheese and it's so decadent and the perfect comfort food for a rainy day. If you want more cheesy recipes, try also this Cheesy French Onion Pasta Bake and this Cheesy Pasta with Potatoes and melted Scamorza.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Potatoes. The best variety of potatoes to make Gnocchi is starchy, like the Russet variety. Check this post on the different potato varieties.
- Flour. I use all-purpose flour to make classic potato gnocchi, but you can also use other types of flour like rice flour, wholemeal, or spelt flour.
- Semi-Hard Cheese. Semi-hard cheese would include cheese like Gouda, Emmental, Cheddar, or Gruyere for example.
- Soft Cheese. Soft cheese includes cheese like Brie, Camembert, Taleggio, Stracchino, and so on.
- Blue Cheese. You cannot go wrong with Gorgonzola, either Dolce or Piccante as you prefer. Other blue cheese will work as well.
- Milk. I usually use whole milk to make pasta sauces. You can also use cream in its place.
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.
Step 1. 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.
Step 2. Transfer to a wooden board dusted with flour and roll the dough into a cord about 1.5 inches (2 cm) thick.
Step 3. Cut the small cubes with a knife or a dough scraper.
Step 4. 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.
Step 1. In a pot, melt a teaspoon of butter and then add 2 teaspoons of flour to make a paste called roux. Cook the roux for a couple of minutes, then add the room temperature milk.
Step 2. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the roux is completely dissolved in the milk. Add the cheeses and let them melt completely.
Step 3. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and keep it warm until the gnocchi are ready.
Step 4. 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.
- Baked: Transfer the 4 cheese gnocchi to a baking dish and top them with abundant grated Parmigiano cheese. Bake in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes until you get a crispy crust on your baked gnocchi.
- Gluten-free: To make gluten-free gnocchi, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with potato starch in the same quantity.
- Quick & Easy: You can use store-bought gnocchi instead of making them from scratch to considerably cut down the time and have a delicious meal in less than 30 minutes.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Before reheating, add a few tablespoons of milk to make the sauce creamy again.
You can make gnocchi in advance and freeze them raw until ready to use. Place them on a lined or floured baking sheet, keeping a bit of distance between each gnocchi, freeze for an hour, then transfer the gnocchi to a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Toss directly in boiling salted water without thawing.
These tools will help you make the perfect handmade gnocchi:
- Potato Ricer
- Bench Scraper
- Wooden Board
- Gnocchi Board
- Silicone Spatula
- Complete Gnocchi Set with Potato Ricer + Bench Scraper + Gnocchi Board
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 add a few tablespoons of milk to 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! 🙂
You can find step-by-step photos, and tips in the post above.
Related recipes you might like
If you like this recipe, try also these other recipes with potato Gnocchi:
If you tried this recipe, please take a moment to rate it and share your thoughts in the comments. Your feedback means a lot to me! ★★★★★
Four Cheese Gnocchi
- 7 oz Starchy Potatoes
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Milk or Cream
- 1 teaspoon Butter
- 2 teaspoon Flour
- 2 tablespoon Gorgonzola
- 2 tablespoon Semi-Hard Cheese, such as Gouda or Gruyere, grated
- 2 tablespoon Parmigiano, grated
- 1 tablespoon 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.