30-Minute Dinner/ Chicken Recipes/ Italian Recipes/ meat/ pasta

Four Cheese Pasta

20 November 2019 | Last Updated: 11 May 2022 By Aleksandra

Four cheese pasta is a delicious and easy pasta dish made with 4 types of cheese, tender chicken, and broccoli. The cheese sauce is creamy, cheesy, and bold-tasting with a hint of garlic and lemon juice. You may think of it as an Italian answer to mac and cheese!

Four cheese pasta with chicken and broccoli in a blue plate.

Recipe ingredients

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Here’s what you need to make this delicious pasta dish:

Labeled ingredients for four cheese pasta with chicken and broccoli.
  • Pasta – you can also use spaghetti pasta or other pasta types. I like to use spirals (fusilli).
  • Cheese – you can use other cheese varieties, just make sure to add both creamy and strongly tasting kinds of cheese. Other cheeses that would work: pecorino, fontina, gruyere, provolone, taleggio, smoked gouda, blue cheese.
  • I recommend buying cheese and grating it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt that easily because it usually contains lots of starch, which is added so that the cheese won’t clump. A lot of starch in the pre-grated cheese may also impact the flavor.
  • Meat – you can omit the chicken completely to make it vegetarian.
  • What you could also add – instead of broccoli, kale, green beans, sauteed zucchini, or spinach would also work great.
  • Lemon juice – is necessary to brighten up the cheesy sauce. If you don’t have it on hand you can add a splash of dry white wine.
  • Flour is not shown on the photo, it’s optional, but I like to coat the chicken in flour – it makes it more tender. Flour creates a crispy coating on the chicken and locks in all the juices. Flour also thickens the sauce so if you’re not using it, use less milk (just 1/2 cup).

Step by step instructions

This is a complete step-by-step tutorial on how to cook this dish. Scroll down for a printable recipe card.

Start with preparing the ingredients: divide the broccoli (1/2 head) into florets, cut the chicken breast (1 lb/450g) into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes, chop 3 cloves garlic very finely, grate 1 cup mozzarella (3.5oz/100g) on the large holes of a box grater and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (1 1/2oz/45g on the small holes of a box grater.

Broccoli in a pot. Cooked chicken in a pan.

STEP 1: Cook pasta + broccoli:

Cook about 3 cups of uncooked spirals/fusilli pasta (8.5oz/240g) al dente (it should have a bite to it) and steam (or cook) the broccoli.

I like to cook the pasta in a pot and steam the broccoli in a sieve above the pot (see the photos). So there’s a pot with pasta, a sieve with broccoli florets hung above the pot, and all of that is covered with a lid. It’s really the easiest way and you don’t have a lot of clean-up or need a special steamer! The fusilli pasta, that I have used, needs to be cooked for 10 minutes and the broccoli needs to be steamed for 8 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, cook the chicken and prepare the sauce.

STEP 2 Cook the chicken:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss with flour until coated on all sides (optional). Heat 2 Tbsp of oil over high heat in a big frying pan. Once hot, add the chicken in an even layer. Don’t stir for the first 2 minutes and let the chicken brown, then cook, stirring until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside). Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Sauteed garlic with spices in a pan. 4 types of cheese in a pan.

STEP 3: Make the cheese sauce:

Add 1 Tbsp butter to the pan, when it’s sizzling add finely chopped garlic, 1 ts basil, and 1/2 ts onion powder and cook, stirring, over medium heat for a minute.

STEP 4: Add all 4 types of cheese (1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese (3.5oz/100g), 1/2 cup cream cheese (3.5oz/100g), previously grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and 3/4 cup milk (120ml) to the pan and cook until the cheeses are melted and the sauce has thickened (if it’s too runny, just cook it a little longer, stirring from time to time).

If you have not coated chicken in flour, use just 1/2 cup of milk.

Cheese sauce in a pan. Broccoli, pasta, cooked chicken, and cheese sauce in a pan.

STEP 5: Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon).

STEP 6: Add the chicken back to the pan, add the cooked pasta and steamed broccoli. Stir everything together. Season with a little bit more salt, pepper, and lemon juice, if necessary.

You can garnish the dish with chopped parsley, and toasted flaked almonds, if you wish.

Enjoy!

How to serve four cheese sauce

  • You can completely omit the chicken and broccoli and serve this cheesy sauce pasta as a side dish with steak or pan-fried chicken breast or fish.
  • Instead of pasta, you can serve the cheese sauce with potato gnocchi.
  • This dish is wonderful with a crunchy salad with vinaigrette.

Storage

The cheese sauce can be easily stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. It won’t look very appetizing when cold (more like a big clump) but the cheese will melt again when you warm it up and it will be like freshly made. I don’t recommend storing the sauce with the pasta as it will absorb the sauce making it more thick and the pasta itself will be soggy. I will be a little less than perfect but actually still tasty.

Other quick and easy dinner ideas you may like

Four cheese pasta with chicken and broccoli in a frying pan.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Four Cheese Sauce

Four cheese pasta is a delicious and easy pasta dish made with 4 types of cheese, tender chicken, and broccoli. The cheese sauce is creamy, cheesy, and bold-tasting with a hint of garlic and lemon juice. You may think of it as an Italian answer to mac and cheese!
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chicken with cheese sauce
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 728kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the pasta:

  • 1 lb (450g) chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons flour optional
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • ½ head broccoli
  • 8 ½ oz (240g) fusilli (spirals) pasta about 3 cups uncooked pasta

for the four cheese sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ cup gorgonzola cheese 3.5oz/100g, I used gorgonzola dolce
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese 1½oz/45g, grated on the small holes of a box grater
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese 3.5oz/100g, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • ½ cup cream cheese 3.5oz/100g
  • ¾ cup milk 120ml
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

to garnish (optional):

  • toasted flaked almonds
  • chopped parsley
  • grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Prepare all the ingredients: divide the broccoli into florets, cut the chicken breast into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes, chop the garlic very finely, grate the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • Cook the pasta and broccoli: Cook the pasta al dente (it should have a bite to it) and steam (or cook) the broccoli. I like to cook the pasta in a pot and steam the broccoli in a sieve above the pot (see the photos in the post). So there's a pot with pasta, a sieve with broccoli florets hung above the pot, and all of that is covered with a lid. Fusilli pasta, that I have used, needs to be cooked for 10 minutes and the broccoli needs to be steamed for 8 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, cook the chicken and prepare the sauce.
  • Cook the chicken: Season the chicken with salt and pepper and toss with flour. Heat the oil over high heat in a big frying pan. Once hot, add the chicken pieces in an even layer. Don't stir for the first 2 minutes (to let the chicken brown), then cook, stirring until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside). Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • Make the cheese sauce: Add the butter to the pan, when it's sizzling add finely chopped garlic, dry basil, and onion powder and cook, stirring, over medium heat for a minute.
  • Add all 4 kinds of cheese and milk to the pan and cook until the cheeses are melted and the sauce has thickened (if it's too runny, just cook it a little longer, stirring from time to time). Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  • Assemble: Add the chicken back to the pan, add the cooked pasta and steamed broccoli. Stir everything together. Season a little more with salt, pepper and lemon juice, if necessary.
  • You can garnish the dish with grated parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and toasted flaked almonds, if you wish.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • If not using flour, add just 1/2 cup of milk.
  • Cheese – you can use other cheese varieties, just make sure to add both creamy and strongly tasting kinds of cheeses. Other types of cheese that would work: pecorino, fontina, gruyere, provolone, taleggio, or blue cheese. 
  • You can omit the chicken completely to make it vegetarian.
  • What you could also add – instead of broccoli, kale, sauteed zucchini, or spinach would also work great.
  • You can completely omit the chicken and broccoli and serve this cheesy sauce pasta as a side dish with steak or pan-fried chicken breast or fish.
  • Instead of pasta, you can serve the cheese sauce with potato gnocchi.
  • Calories count = 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe, this is only an estimate!).
Course Main Course
Cuisine international, Italian
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