This 35-minute Four Cheese Pasta (Cheesecake Factory Copycat) has a thick homemade marinara sauce and four kinds of cheese. It also features a little ball of ricotta on top that you dip your pasta in.
This homemade marinara sauce is so good I could eat a bowl of it. It's also so pretty easy to make. It has me questioning if I'll buy a $10 jar of sauce ever again.
Basil is a must for this sauce. Sometimes I question if basil is worth it. So I made it once without the bail, and let me tell you, big mistake, huge! It's everything in this sauce. It's one thousand percent necessary!
Why you need to get this pasta in your meal rotation ASAP
- Have you ever dipped your pasta in a pool of ricotta? No? You need to.
- This takes 35 minutes to make.
- It's way cheaper and faster than your favorite dish at Cheesecake Factory.
🧀 Ingredients & Substitutions
Pasta: Use any shape you want or have, but I would stick to the shorter and rounder shapes.
Fresh Basil: Fresh basil makes this sauce. It can be hard to find outside of its season (June – September), but I can occasionally find it in other months next to the Italian cheeses. You can also use Thai basil. It has a different flavor than Italian basil, but I like it.
Whole Milk Ricotta: Whole milk ricotta is creamier and richer than skim, but you can use either.
Romano Cheese: Romano cheese can be hard to find sometimes, but you can use any kind of romano cheese. The one I see the most is pecorino romano. Make sure it's grated so it melts better.
Mozzarella Cheese: Use low-moisture mozzarella so it melts in the sauce better.
Parmesan Cheese: The higher quality parmesan you use, the better this pasta will taste. Make sure it's grated so it melts better.
🔪 How to Make Four Cheese Pasta
1. Make Pasta: Boil water as you prep the ingredients for the sauce. Cook pasta.
2. Make Sauce: Saute garlic and oregano. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes
3. Make Ricotta Mixture: While the sauce is simmering, mix the ricotta cheese and 2 tablespoons of grated romano.
4. Mix in Cheese: Stir in the mozzarella, parmesan, and ¼ cup of romano. Check the seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed.
5. Add Pasta: Stir in your pasta. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a little water.
6. Top: Top pasta with a spoon full of ricotta and more basil.
Prep all of your ingredients for the sauce while you wait for the water to boil. Measure out the oregano, mince the garlic, and open the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste cans. The garlic cooks very quickly. If you don't have the crushed tomatoes ready, it might burn.
🥡 How to Store
Store the pasta and ricotta topping separately in the fridge for up to 4 days.
When you're ready to eat the leftovers, reheat the past, then top it with the cold ricotta.
Ricotta, romano, mozzarella, and parmesan
Easy Four Cheese Pasta (Cheesecake Factory)
- .75 lb. penne
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tablespoon fresh chopped basil + more for garnish
- 1 28- oz crushed tomatoes
- 6 oz tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup whole milk ricotta
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons romano or Pecorino Romano, grated
- ½ cup low-moisture mozzarella shredded
- ⅓ cup parmesan grated
- Boil water for pasta. As the water boils, prep the ingredients for your sauce. It comes together quickly, and you'll want all of your ingredients ready. Once the water is boiling, cook your pasta as directed on the packaging.
- Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add garlic and oregano. Cook until it's fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Lower the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust the temperature if needed to keep it at a genital simmer.
- While the sauce is simmering, mix the ricotta cheese and 2 tablespoons of grated romano. Set aside.
- Once the sauce is done, stir in mozzarella, parmesan, and ¼ cup of romano. Mix until the cheese has melted. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. The sauce should be thick.
- Add your cooked pasta and stir until the penne is completely coated in sauce. If you feel the sauce is too thick, you can thin it out with water, one tablespoon at a time.
- Add the pasta to a bowl, and top with a spoonful of ricotta and more basil.
Want More Easy Weeknight Dinners?
- Lemon Pepper Chicken Bites
- Big Mac Sloppy Joes
- Shake and Bake Chicken in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Chicken Flautas
- Rigatoni Arrabbiata ( Spicy Tomato Pasta)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
- See more guidelines at USDA.gov