Quattro Formaggi Pasta

Cheese is life, at least for those of us who love it. Even if we try to avoid eating it all the time, every now and then we need an extra cheesy fix. Well, my friend, this quattro formaggi pasta is an elegant and balanced way to get that fix. Let’s make it!

What to expect: a balanced cheesy pasta, that’s cheesy but not sickly so. Bite into al dente penne with a creamy cheesy sauce. Taste the strong blue cheese, and the marrying notes of emmental and pecorino. It’s an Italian cheese delight.


What does Quattro Formaggi mean?

Quattro formaggi literally means ‘four cheeses’ in Italian. That’s to indicate a pasta made with four different cheeses, usually an equal mix of hard and soft ones.

Formaggio is the singular for cheese, and formaggi is the plural.

Quattro is number four.


Quattro Formaggi Origins

Unfortunately, this pasta origins are not clear. Considering that butter, cream and cheeses are especially loved and enjoyed in the North of Italy, I would say it was probably invented in the North. However, don’t quote me on that, as I wasn’t there :).

As for the quattro formaggi pizza, Wikipedia says it originated in Lazio around the 18th century.

Whether the pasta or pizza came first, we don’t know, although I have a feeling that’s probably the same as for the Norma. Pasta alla Norma came first, and then in more recent years, someone coined the pizza version.


ingredients for quattro formaggi pasta


What cheese to use for Quattro Formaggi Pasta?

To have a balanced, delicious and rich cheesy pasta, the quattro formaggi rule holds that you should combine two hard cheeses, preferably Italian, and two creamy ones.

The options of which cheeses to use are endless; here are the most common ones:

Hard cheeses: Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, Emmental, Fontina, Provolone.

Creamy cheeses: Gorgonzola aka blue cheese and Philadelphia or Certosino or Stracchino or Taleggio.


What is Quattro Formaggi made of?

Other than the four cheeses combination, you might be wondering what else to put in your Italian pasta cheese sauce. Here are the most common ingredients:

  1. butter
  2. cooking cream
  3. salt and pepper
  4. optional parsley
  5. pasta, of course


You might also not know that many Italians just use milk instead of cooking cream. They heat it up like we are going to do with cream, and then add the cheeses to melt. The rest of the cooking process is the same. You’ll see it in the recipe below.


cooking penne for quattro formaggi


Pasta for Quattro Formaggi

Speaking of pasta, and how it’s the essential component of Quattro Formaggi sauce, let’s look at which pasta is best for this recipe.

The most used pasta shape for quattro formaggi is: penne. Try our Artisan Penne Pasta from Italy.

The other pasta shapes Italians love to use when making this cheesy sauce are: farfalle, fusilli, conchiglie, e cavatappi.


Traditional Quattro Formaggi Pasta from Italy


quattro formaggi pasta is ready



quattro formaggi pasta is ready

Quattro Formaggi Pasta

Is the cheese pasta craving calling? Try this quattro formaggi pasta from Italy. It's delicious, easy and quick to make.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2
Calories 800 kcal


  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 chopping knife
  • 1 grater
  • 1 medium pan
  • 1 medium pot
  • 1 stirring spoon


  • 300 gr penne like our Artisan Penne rigate
  • 200 ml cooking cream
  • 30 gr grated pecorino cheese
  • 100 gr emmental cheese
  • 80 gr gorgonzola Italian blue cheese
  • 1 tbsp Philadelphia cream cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley


  • Grate your pecorino cheese and set aside.
  • Cut your emmental cheese into small cubes.
    PS: If you don't like chunks into your cheese sauce, then you may want to grate this too.
    preparing hard cheeses for quattro formaggi pasta
  • Boil the water for the pasta with plenty of salt.
  • Add the cooking cream to your pan and season. Let it heat up over the heat.
    making quattro formaggi pasta sauce
  • Once hot, add the hard cheeses to start melting: the pecorino you grated and the emmental you prepared. Mix well from time to time to help them melt, and lower the heat so the cheese sauce doesn't stick or burn.
    adding hard cheeses for quattro formaggi sauce
  • Cut your blue cheese into cubes and get your Philadelphia cream cheese ready to be used.
  • Throw your pasta to cook.
    cooking penne for quattro formaggi
  • Add the cream cheeses: the cut blue cheese and the tablespoons of cream cheese, and mix well.
    adding blue cheese to quattro formaggi sauce
  • Continue mixing while the pasta is cooking. When your quattro formaggi cheese sauce has reached your preferred consistency (I like it a little chunky), take it off the heat.
  • Drain the pasta, saving some pasta water, and adding it back to the pot with pasta.
  • Add the quattro formaggi pasta sauce to your penne, and mix well.
    adding quattro formaggi sauce to penne pasta
  • Quickly plate and enjoy.
    PS: The pasta shouldn't get dry too quickly as both the cream and Philadelphia cheese are helping it stay creamy and moist. But don't wait too long to enjoy it.
    quattro formaggi pasta is ready
  • Feel free to garnish with some fresh parsley and add an extra dash of black pepper.
    tasting quattro formaggi sauce


Note the calories above give you a large portion of quattro formaggi pasta. If you want to cut back, then just enjoy a smaller portion.
I left out butter, but feel free to add a knob or two when heating your cooking cream.
Keyword cheese pasta, quattro formaggi pasta

Italian fried are ready 15 minute spicy pasta recipe ham sandwich


Other Recipes for Cheese Lovers

If you like your cheese, I am pretty sure you’ll appreciate these other recipes:

  1. Italian fried eggs with ham and cheese
  2. Blue cheese pasta sauce
  3. Cheesy 15 minutes Spicy Rigatoni
  4. Ham sandwich of dreams (with asiago cheese)
  5. Lean Beef Pizzaiola with Mozzarella


Is your mouth drooling? Luckily, those recipes are all quick and easy to make, so grab the ingredients to make them soon.


More Quattro Formaggi Questions

Does Quattro Formaggi have tomato sauce?

Absolutely not. Quattro formaggi is a completely white pasta sauce, made with with pure white ingredients - including cheeses, cooking cream, and butter.

Is Quattro Formaggi vegetarian?

Yes, quattro formaggi sauce is completely vegetarian. It doesn't include any bacon nor other form of ham or meat.

Where does Quattro Formaggi pasta come from?

While the origins are not certain, we'd say Quattro Formaggi pasta comes from the North of Italy, since that cuisine appreciates particularly the use of cream, butter and a lot of cheeses. That's not to say Italians don't use these ingredients in the South of Italy.


Author: Alessia


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