30-Minute Dinner/ italian/ meat/ pasta

Chicken with 4 cheese sauce and broccoli

20 November 2019

Chicken and broccoli in a creamy and bold-tasting cheesy sauce with a hint of garlic and lemon juice. This is my version of the Italian quatro formaggi pasta (pasta ai quattro formaggi / 4 cheese pasta). Actually, I was making this dish as a student and it was, unfortunately, a dry packaged cheese sauce mix that you would stir with heavy cream. I was recently craving it again and tried to make a homemade, from-scratch version. And guess what? It was way better! For my sauce, I’m using a mix of creamy and bold-tasting cheeses (cream cheese, mozzarella, gorgonzola, and parmesan). They are seasoned with dry basil, fresh garlic and onion powder and the whole sauce is brightened up with lemon juice. It’s finger-licking-good! I served it with pasta, chicken breast and broccoli (just like the package instructions told me to in my university times ;)). I’m sure you’ll like it (and especially your kids), it’s also very quick to make.

Chicken with 4 cheese sauce and broccoli

Ingredients / substitutions:

  • Pasta – you can also use spaghetti pasta or other pasta types.
  • 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. Don’t use pre-shredded cheese because there’s a lot of starch added so that the cheese won’t clump. A sauce made with such cheese can taste chalky.
  • Meat – you can omit the chicken completely to make it vegetarian.
  • What you could also add – instead of broccoli, kale or spinach would also work great.
Chicken with 4 cheese sauce and broccoli ingredients

How to make chicken with 4 cheese sauce – step by step:

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

Start with preparing the ingredients: divide the broccoli (1 head broccoli, 1lb/450g) into florets, cut the chicken breast (3 chicken breasts, 1.3lbs/600g) into 1-inch/2.5 cm cubes, chop 3 garlic cloves very finely, grate 3.5oz/100g mozzarella (on the big holes of a box grater) and 1.2oz/35g parmezan cheese (on the small holes of a box grater).

Chicken with 4 cheese sauce preparation steps
  1. Pasta + broccoli: Cook 8.5oz/240g (about 3 cups uncooked pasta) 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). 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! 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.
  2. Chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat in a big frying pan. Once hot, add the chicken pieces in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. 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.
Chicken with 4 cheese sauce preparation steps

3. Make the sauce: Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan, when it’s sizzling add finely chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon of dry basil and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and cook, stirring, over medium heat for a minute.
4. Add all the 4 cheeses (1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese (3.5oz/100g), 1/2 cup cream cheese (3.5oz/100g) and previously grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese) and 1/2 cup of 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).

Chicken with 4 cheese sauce preparation steps

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

6. 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!

How to serve the 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.
Chicken with 4 cheese sauce and broccoli in a blue bowl

Other quick and easy dinner ideas you may like:

Chicken with 4 cheese sauce and broccoli

Chicken and broccoli in a creamy and bold-tasting cheesy sauce with a hint of garlic and lemon juice. Comes together very quickly.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 1051kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

pasta:

  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 3 chicken breasts 1.3lbs/600g
  • 1 head broccoli 1lb/450g
  • 8.5 oz fusilli pasta 240g, about 3 cups uncooked pasta, or spaghetti

the cheese sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese 3.5oz/100g, I used gorgonzola dolce
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese 1.2oz/35g, grated on the small holes of a box grater
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese 3.5oz/100g, grated on the big holes of a box grater
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese 3.5oz/100g
  • 1/2 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 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. 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.
  • Heat the oil over high heat in a big frying pan. Once hot, add the chicken pieces in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. 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.
  • 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 the 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.
  • 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

  • Pasta – you can also use spaghetti pasta or other pasta types.
  • Cheese – you can use other cheese varieties, just make sure to add both creamy and strongly tasting kinds of cheeses, other cheeses that would work: pecorino, fontina, gruyere, provolone, taleggio. Don’t use pre-shredded cheese.
  • Meat – you can omit the chicken completely to make it vegetarian.
  • What you could also add – instead of broccoli, kale 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 (1/3 of the recipe, this is only an estimate!).

Nutrition

Calories: 1051kcal
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine international, Italian
Keyword 4 cheese pasta, cheese pasta recipe, chicken with cheese pasta

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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