Bringing Europe Home

Penne Quattro Formaggi

It’s time for some comfort food!  A big bowl of pasta smothered in cheese sauce fits the bill perfectly.  Today I have a recipe for you that I have adapted from one that was given to our family by my Italian friend, Concetta (but everyone called her Connie).  When my family first arrived in Munich, I knew much more Italian than German. Truthfully, I remembered about a pinky finger’s worth of Italian from my study abroad in Venice smzsmps years ago, compared with about a quarter pinky finger’s worth of German. So Connie and I communicated in Italian  rather than German, and we hit it off nicely.  Connie came to our house to prepare this for us, because my daughter was collecting recipes for a home economics project.  As Connie cooked and described this in Italian, I quickly wrote down the recipe, so my recipe is bilingual.


Penne is, of course, a tube-shaped pasta, and any small pasta works for this dish.  Quattro means “four” and formaggi means “cheeses,”  so this is four cheeses pasta, and I’m sure you already knew that.  A Pasta Quattro Formaggi dish can use almost any combination of cheeses.  I have seen recipes that call for Brie, ricotta, Gruyère, Edam, mozzarella, goat cheese, and even Cheddar. (But really, please don’t use Cheddar if you want to be Italian about it.)

 It will typically start, as most Italian recipes do, with sautéed garlic and/or onion.  There are usually additional flavorings, such as parsley, white wine, or in this case, dry broth.  You can tweak it any way you like, depending on your preferences and ingredients–you have free rein with this recipe.  Try it, and tell us how it turned out!


This recipe makes enough sauce to cover a pound of pasta.

Penne Quattro Formaggi

One onion, finely chopped (proprio piccolo, piccolo, piccolo).  Heat a little olive oil and 2 TBSP butter in a pan.  Sauté until the onions are soft and cooked.  Add 2 cups heavy cream.  Bring to a boil.  Add 1/2 cup (100 grams) Gorgonzola, piece by piece and 1/2 cup (100 grams) Crumbled Goat Cheese (not Feta).  Add fontina cheese (formaggio di pizza), grated, 1 cup (200 grams).  Mix.  Also add 2 TSP dry broth and parsley, chopped.  And a little bit of pepper.

 E fatto! (And it’s done!)

Pour it over the pasta.  Then add a generous portion of Parmigiano over the pasta and sauce.

*Note.  Beware of the blue!  Gorgonzola is the Italian version of blue cheese (its veins are actually green), and it’s strong stuff.  Be sure to use the sweet Gorgonzola; it has a creamy, rather than a dry and crumbly texture.  If you love Gorgonzola, you may want to increase the amount in this dish.

A website that I particularly like for learning more about cheeses is Go to the product reviews section, and from there go to cheeses.  Or, try  A great cheese blog is  Check out his post on Pecorino Crotonese–Sheep’s Milk Cheese from Italy!


  1. Diana

    Yummm! can’t wait to try the quattro formaggi–I’m with Gina, add a little wine….

    • Go ahead, gals. Add that wine and tell us how it turns out! I liked the half goat cheese version, and I drank my wine along with… 🙂

  2. Vicky

    This recipe sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try it. BTW – Love the blog! Always full of helpful info and especially the “bring it home” section!


    • You’re welcome! So glad you like the blog, and please me know how your quattro formaggi turns out!

  3. gatechfan


  4. Gina

    Don’t you love those ladies from “the old country;” they never write down their recipes. This recipe sounds yummy and comforting! How bad can cheese, pasta and cream be!?! I would and add a cup each of Romano and white wine, too. If my kids were eating it, I would make it “tre formaggi” with the Fontina, Pecorino and Parm and still add the wine! Keep those dinner ideas coming. Buon Appetito!

  5. Great suggestions, Gina! I did like the texture that the crumbled goat cheese gave to the dish–it incorporated well into the cream. I’ll try it with the Pecorino Romano in the sauce next time and see how that goes. Would love to know how your white version turns out!

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