This four cheese pasta is luxuriously smooth and silky, ultra cheesy and utterly delicious. Better still, it only takes 15mins to make!
Four cheese pasta, quattro formaggi pasta, a food coma waiting to happen, whatever you want to call this, can we all rejoice in the fact that it’s one of the tastiest pasta recipes around? Okay good. 4 cheese pasta is a classic in many Italian restaurants and here I’ll show you how unbelievably easy it is to make at home. Follow me…
Four Cheese Pasta Sauce
The sauce itself is incredibly simple. I tend to split it into the following three categories:
The base of the sauce is a straight 50/50 split of milk and cream. No need for a roux, or any other thickening agent, the cheese will lightly thicken the sauce.
Realistically what we all came here for. I’ve tried to keep the cheese selection as traditional as possible, whilst still using cheeses you’ll easily find at the store. Here’s what I deem to be the ultimate 4 cheese sauce:
- Taleggio – Fairly mellow but makes a great base to build flavours and also helps create a smooth and creamy sauce.
- Gorgonzola – Even if you don’t like blue cheese I highly recommend adding this. Gorgonzola is much milder and creamier than other, harder blue cheeses. It gives a gorgeous background flavour, but won’t overpower the sauce.
- Gruyere – Adds a nice sweet and nutty flavour.
- Parmigiano Reggiano – Is it even legal to make a pasta sauce without this?!
You can make some substitutions, I’ve added a few options in the recipe card.
The sauce really speaks for itself to be honest, so you don’t need to go overboard with the seasoning. But alongside salt and pepper, I highly recommend adding nutmeg. It really compliments the sauce and enhances those nutty tones from some of the cheeses.
How to make 4 Cheese Pasta
Again, a very simple process. To thicken the milk and cream, you’ll want to begin by adding Taleggio and Gorgonzola. These melt into the sauce nicely and begin thickening it. After that just stir through your grated cheeses and add seasoning. Plonk in pasta and jobs a good’n.
This isn’t the type of recipe where the pasta is drowning in the sauce. The sauce is light and silky, it should just wrap around the pasta nicely. If the sauce is still thin once the pasta is added, just gently simmer until it attaches to the pasta.
Starchy Pasta Water
With the same token, if you over-reduce the sauce, I’d always keep a cup of the water your pasta cooked in, just in case. The starch molecules help emulsify the fats in the sauce and not only help thicken it but also turn it nice and glossy.
What’s the best pasta to use?
Here I use Mezzi Rigatoni (half rigatoni), but in theory, you can use any shortcut pasta you like!
Process shots: combine milk and cream (photo 1), melt in semi-soft cheeses (photo 2), add grated cheese (photo 3), add seasoning (photo 4), stir in pasta (photo 5).
Can I reheat this?
You can, just don’t stick it in the microwave. It’ll dry up and go grainy. I recommend popping it back in the pan over low heat with a splash of milk, just to retain it’s original sauciness.
And there we have it! All my top tips and tricks for the best four cheese pasta.
If you’re looking for another quick and easy cheese pasta recipe then make sure you check out my Cream Cheese Pasta!
For more similar recipes give these beauties a ganders too:
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this four cheese pasta shall we!?
How to make Four Cheese Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)
Four Cheese Pasta
- Large Deep Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
- Large Pot & Colander
- Fine Cheese Grater
- Jug (for milk/cream)
Ingredients (check list):
- 400g / 14oz Short Cut Pasta
- 120ml / 1/2 cup Whole Milk
- 120ml / 1/2 cup Double/Heavy Cream
- 80g / 3oz Taleggio, rind removed and roughly diced (see notes)
- 50g / 1.75oz Gorgonzola, roughly diced
- 50g / 1.75oz Gruyere, finely grated
- 40g / 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano,
- 1/4 tsp EACH Nutmeg, Salt, White Pepper or to taste (sub black pepper)
- Add the pasta to salted boiling water and cook to the package instructions minus around 2 mins (should still be a teeny bit hard). Just before draining, retain a cup of the starchy pasta water.
- In a large deep pan over low-medium heat stir together milk and cream until combined. As the cream begins to warm, add the Taleggio and Gorgonzola and stir until they blend into the sauce. Keeping the heat on low-medium, and without the sauce coming to a rapid simmer, keep gently stirring for 4-5 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Turn the heat to very low, stir in the Gruyere and Parmigiano until they blend with the sauce, then season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. I typically do 1/4 tsp of each, but work to taste.
- Add in the pasta alongside around 1/3 cup of the starchy pasta water. Stir and toss the pasta in the sauce for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens into a silky sauce that clings to the pasta. It should no longer be watery, instead a light, silky/glossy sauce. The pasta should be perfectly al dente. Keep stirring until you reach this consistency (see video for reference). If it over-thickens or the pasta needs a little more cooking, just stir in more starchy pasta water as needed.
- Serve and enjoy!
Quick 1 min demo!
- Taleggio - Fontina or Brie.
- Gorgonzola - Any other mild blue cheese i.e. Dolcelatte (even if you don't like blue cheese I recommend adding this, it's a small amount so quite mellow, but still packs a good amount of flavour).
- Gruyere - Comté.
- Parmigiano Reggiano - Pecorino Romano or Parmesan.
Your Private Notes: