Learn how to make this homemade Four Cheese Pasta Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe made from scratch. Made with a tasty marinara sauce, this recipe is the perfect weekday meal for busy families. Enjoy this penne pasta dish in less than 30 minutes.
We love going out to eat, but it's not always practical monetarily or time-wise. With this easy-to-follow recipe, you can have a delicious copycat restaurant-style noodle dish in the comfort of your home. My kids love this meal and so will yours.
Below is a list of ingredients and our recommended brands. Use these tips on ingredients to help have the best recipe results.
- Penne pasta- While other pasta can be used, we recommend penne pasta because it's what Cheesecake Factory uses and it's great for sauce dishes.
- Olive oil- Olive oil is needed to brown the minced garlic. It also adds a nice flavor.
- Garlic- Minced garlic is used in this recipe.
- Marinara sauce- Use either a homemade marinara sauce or your favorite brand of sauce. Some great brands include Hunts, Knorr, Roa, and Classico.
- Basil- While you can use dried basil, to get that copycat flavor, fresh basil is preferred.
- Oregano- Dried oregano works great for this recipe.
- Ricotta- Found in the refrigerated section, this tasty cheese is similar to cottage cheese if you need a substitute.
- Parmesan and Romano- Use fresh or grated cheese. You can also substitute parmesan and romano with the premixed parmesan and romano mixed.
- Mozzarella-For that classic Italian taste, use shredded mozzarella.
- Milk- Whole milk is preferred to help get the right consistency but other milk can be used.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Four Cheese Pasta Cheesecake Factory
Here are step-by-step photos to help with the cooking process. Use the pictures to help with texture and presentation to have the perfect four cheese pasta.
- In a large pan with tall sides heat the oil and sautee the onion.
2. Add the marinara sauce and the herbs and spices. Mix together.
3. Mix in the four cheeses and mix until the cheeses are melted.
4. Add the cooked penne pasta and mix until they are all coated.
Hint: This has just enough sauce to coat the noodles. If you want it extra saucy, add an extra ½ cup or more to the noodles.
Substitutions and Variations
- Chicken- Make this with chicken by cutting 1 lb chicken breasts into cubes, season with garlic and basil, cook in a pan over medium heat and olive oil until cooked through, and stir in at the end. Add an extra cup of marinara sauce.
- Baked- To bake this dish, place the sauced noodles in a large casserole dish and top it with more mozzarella and parmesan. Bake at 375° F until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
This makes a great meal prep meal. Make and divide into portioned bowls and store in the refrigerator. It lasts up to 5 days.
While you can use dried basil, fresh basil tastes much better for this dish. It gives it that true authentic taste, just like from Cheese Cake Factory.
How To Serve
Top individual bowls with crushed red pepper for some extra heat. You can also add crushed red pepper to the entire sauce if everyone you are serving loves spicy dishes.
Serve with garlic bread and a side salad for a complete meal.
Learn From Us
While testing this recipe, I made it with dried basil and the flavor was lacking and not quite a true copycat. For that real cheesecake factory flavor, use fresh basil. It adds that extra dimension of flavor like the real thing.
Storing Four Cheese Pasta Cheesecake Factory
Make this for dinner and then enjoy the leftovers. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For freezing instructions, store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw and reheat to enjoy. You may need to add extra sauce or a few tablespoons of milk to thin the sauce.
For the best texture results, cook noodles until al dente so that the noodles aren't soggy or gummy.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Four Cheese Pasta Cheesecake Factory
- 16 ounce penne pasta
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 24 ounce marinara sauce *see note
- 3 Tablespoons fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ +⅓ cup ricotta
- ½ cup parmesan can substitute parmesan and romano with ¾ cup of parmesan and romano mixed.
- ¼ cup romano
- ½ cup mozzarella
- 1-2 teaspoons milk
- Bring a pot of water to a boil of high heat. Add penne pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook minced garlic for 30-60 seconds until fragrant and starting to turn golden. Add the marinara sauce and the basil, oregano, pepper and salt. Heat for 5 minutes, then stir in ½ cup ricotta cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and romano cheeses until melted.
- Whisk together the milk and ⅓ cup ricotta cheese, see picture above for a texture reference. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce until well coated. Serve pasta and place a dollop of the ricotta cheese/ milk mixture into the center of each serving. Garnish with basil, if desired.
- *This recipe has a good amount of sauce to just coat each noodle. For extra sauce, use an extra cup of marinara sauce (no need to change anything else in the recipe).
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- This can be made ahead and frozen or placed in the refrigerator. Reheat in a skillet over medium low, add a touch of milk if needed to thin the sauce.
- We topped ours with crushed red pepper flakes and it was delicious and we highly recommend trying it if you like a little heat.
In the restaurant, there are 1280 calories in the dish. This homemade version has 341 per serving.
Make the pasta dish with penne pasta. Add marinara sauce to a sauce pan. Add ricotta cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, and romano. Stir until melted. Add the spices and herbs and serve.
Four cheese sauce is basic marinara sauce that's been taken to the next level! It has basil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and then of course cheese. The sauce includes mozzarella, parmesan, romano, and ricotta.
You can reheat the dish in the microwave or the oven. Just make sure you use a microwave safe dish or an oven safe dish depending on the method you use. You may need to add a splash of milk to thin the sauce when reheating.