This Four Cheese Pasta is a Cheesecake Factory Copycat recipe that comes together in less than 30 minutes. It's the perfect cheesy weeknight meal, that even the kids will love!
This Penne Pasta is tossed in a marinara pasta sauce loaded with 4 different types of cheeses for the ultimate cheese pull. Serve this recipe beside my air fryer garlic toast for a match made in heaven!
Love Penne Pasta? Try my Creamy Penne Primavera too!
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- Like my Rose pasta recipe, the sauce is tomato based, but has a nice creamy flavor from all the added cheese.
- This recipe is vegetarian friendly.
- It's so easy to make in less than 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight meal.
4 Cheeses-Ricotta, Parmesan, Pecorino Romano and Mozzarella all come together to form a mouthwatering combination. I prefer a whole milk ricotta in most of my recipes for its taste. For the Parmesan, I highly suggest parmigiano reggiano for its superior nutty flavor.
Marinara Sauce- Brings in the best tomato flavor into this recipe. You can use my quick and easy marinara recipe, which will give you extra sauce for other recipes too, like this Italian Sausage Lasagna and Couscous Stuffed Bell Peppers. If you don't want to make your own, you can buy store-bought Marinara sauce instead & it will still be great!
Penne Pasta-The best pasta for this recipe for its tube like structure that holds the cheesy sauce really well.
Substitutions and Additions:
If you can't find whole milk ricotta, you can substitute it for part skim ricotta cheese.
For the marinara sauce, a store-bought jarred recipe works great to save time.
Don't like the taste of fresh basil? You can leave it out or substitute with minced parsley. I would only do a tablespoon of parsley though.
Other tube shaped pastas that would be a good fit for this recipe: Rigatoni, Cavatappi, Ziti and Mezze Penne.
Want a little heat? Add in a few dashes of red pepper flakes.
For additional protein, pair it with this Chicken Romano Cheesecake Factory Recipe!
Don't have any shallot? Leave it out or substitute it with 1 tablespoon of minced yellow onion.
How to Make Four Cheese Pasta:
Here are the Step by Step Instructions for this 4 Cheese Penne.
Step 1: In a large bowl, mix together the parmesan cheese, ½ cup ricotta cheese, pecorino romano cheese, mozzarella, egg, and ⅛ cup of fresh basil. Set aside.
Step 2: Boil water and cook the penne pasta until al dente, firm when bitten, according to the package directions. As the pasta is almost finished, reserve ¼ cup of pasta water from the pot and set it aside.
Step 3: While the pasta water is boiling, into a large skillet over medium low heat, add in the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, toss in the shallot and cook for 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 60 seconds until fragrant. Do not brown, just cook until translucent, where you can see through the shallot.
Step 4: Pour in marinara sauce and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on medium low heat for about 5 minutes. If it starts popping sauce, drop the heat a bit.
Step 5: Drop large spoonfuls of the cheese mixture into the marinara sauce and stir gently to combine. Continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Step 6: Drain the pasta, then combine the penne with the marinara sauce. If you want to smooth out the sauce, add in a few tablespoons of pasta water and stir. Top with fresh basil and small spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and serve! Enjoy!
- You want to shred all of the cheeses from the actual block. Bagged or packaged pre-shredded cheese contains an anti-caking agent that doesn't melt as well.
- Make sure to mince the shallot just as fine as the garlic. You will only be cooking it for a few minutes, and we don't want any crunch in our sauce.
- If the garlic and shallot start to brown, immediately turn down the heat. We want it cooked until the shallot is just translucent or clear.
- Reserve a bit of pasta water to create an extra creamy sauce at the end of cooking. You may not need any, but it's always good to have on hand.
- If you want to bake it into a casserole, after step 6, you can sprinkle on some more cheese over the top and bake in the oven at 375 for 10 minutes, broiling for a few minutes at the end for a crispy, cheesy top.
Don't forget to try my Baked Tortellini Alfredo too!
Four cheese pasta is a marinara sauce base that combines with ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, romano cheese, and mozzarella for the ultimate flavor! Expect a majorly delicious cheese pull!
Don't overcook the pasta noodles and always save about ¼ cup of pasta water. You can use this starchy water to smooth out alfredo sauce, marinara, or this 4 cheese pasta sauce into the best creamy sauce! It's always good to have on hand even if you don't need it. Better safe than sorry.
Add in ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil into the boiling water before adding in the pasta to prevent the noodles from sticking.
This 4 cheese penne pasta tastes best served fresh. I suggest making it right before time to eat. If you want to save it in a sealed container in the fridge and reheat, just plan on serving it with some additional marinara sauce because the pasta absorbs the sauce when it sits in the fridge.
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If you tried this Four Cheese Pasta Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!Print