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Four cheese pasta in casserole dish topped with dollops of ricotta cheese.

Four Cheese Pasta (Cheesecake Factory)

  • Author: Tara Smithson
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 5 large bowls 1x


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!


  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, shredded fine
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, shredded fine
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese + 1/4 cup for serving
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into small strips (chiffonade)
  • 16 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt + 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, pecorino romano cheese, mozzarella, egg, and 1/8 cup of the fresh basil. Set aside.
  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 1/4 cup of pasta water from the pot and set it aside.
  3. Into a large skillet over medium low heat, add in 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.
  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.
  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.
  6. Drain the pasta and 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 only 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, 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.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: italian

Keywords: four cheese pasta, four cheese pasta cheesecake factory, 4 cheese pasta, four cheese penne