Thursday, February 9, 2012

Italian Made Easy: pasta quattro formaggi

Hey y'all! Well I'm here today with another great recipe...and as an added bonus, it's a great option for a Valentine's Day Dinner! Nothing says romantic like Italian ; )! Before getting straight into this recipe, I want to give a bit of a personal story about it. I moved to Italy straight out of high school and lived there for roughly 3 years.  While pizza by far is my food of choice...always has been since I was a little girl, my favorite pasta dish that I had while living there was definitely pasta quattro formaggi...aka 4 cheese pasta.   The four very distinct cheeses absolutely melt to a perfection that is so desirable my taste buds! I didn't eat it that often and til this day, still only have it occasionally.  I absolutely love, love, love cheese, but try to eat it in moderation since, as we know, it can be high in fat; however, with that said, I make it on special occasions, such as Valentine's Day. Remember...we like to push MODERATION! This recipe will look like you made a complicated dish....but will be so simple and so delish!
When making this dish, you can choose any pasta really, but the most authentic way to eat it is with rigatoni.  In Italian, rigatoni means "large grooved." Rigatoni has ridges along the pasta that make it great for holding thicker sauces, such a cream, cheese, or meat sauces.  You can also you any four cheeses, but traditionally fontina, mozzarella, gruyere, and parmesan are used...all white to off white in color.  This dish can easily be made as a vegetarian or non vegetarian meal.  If you want to add meat, simply grill some chicken breast with a little bit of olive oil and Italian spices, slice, and top onto the pasta.  I sometimes will also add either some steamed broccoli or steamed spinach into the sauce with the pasta so that I know my family is getting some veggies too : )!


  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • salt
  •  6 Tbs. butter, melted (I use the Land 'o Lakes light butter...less fat and it's real ingredients vs. margarine)
  • 1/2 C. shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (look for 2% reduced fat mozzarella)
  • 1/2 C. shredded gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
  • pepper
Bring 4 qts. water to a boil in a large pot. Add 2 Tbs. salt, then the pasta. Stir well. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta. In a large heated serving bowl, toss the pasta with butter. Add the cheeses. Toss until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.

I hope you find this recipe to be as delicious as my husband and kids do...please comment and let me know how it goes.  Be on the lookout sometime this weekend for an easy dessert idea for Valentine's Day as well!

Pasta Quattro Formaggi with spinach

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