Anne's Blog

Near Assisi, a Pasta Dish for Coronavirus Diversion

Date: April 9, 2020 - categories: , , - 2 Comments

The days seem to fly here in the Umbria countryside while under coronavirus lockdown. This morning started with a walk up our road…

….to the stall of our two donkeys and a few of our goats for a photo of Pino culling the cashmere wool of one of our cashmere goats:

Odd tasks outside followed – such as hoeing our vegetable garden – and then it was time for lunch preparation.

I’m enjoying putting together recipes – and sharing them -as an enjoyable diversion to ward off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack).

Our primo (“first course”) today? Pasta Ai Quattro Formaggi al Forno (“Oven-baked Pasta with Four Cheeses”)

Topping pasta with a creamy mixture of four cheeses is a tasty dish – but topping that creamy pasta with mozzarella and then slipping it into the oven to create a crust is another taste treat.

Here’s all you need for this dish for four persons……

(and I estimated all quantities…so just look at the photo above to judge approximate amounts – and…..enjoy creating!)

  • penne pasta (or rigatoni – or similar) – 2 handfuls for every portion
  • gorgonzola cheese – about 3 oz (i used a slice as you can see above)
  • groviera cheese (gruyere) or emmenthal or fontina – about 3 oz but I used a slice about 1” thick (see photo)
  • grated Parmesan (or romano) cheese – about 1/4 c?
  • taleggio cheese -usually the fourth cheese used in a pasta dish of four cheeses – but I had ricotta on hand and used instead – about 1/3 c
  • 1- 1/4 milk, approximately
  • 1/2 fresh mozzarella
  • grated nutmeg, q. b. (“quanto basta” – or “as much as you need”)
  • salt, pepper, q.b.

Put the pasta water on to boil and pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Heat the milk but do not let it come to boiling point:

Mix into the milk, the groviera cheese, after grating:

Crumble the gorgonzola…..

….and stir into the hot milk, also adding grated nutmeg:

Add black pepper, continuing to mix…


…and then stir in the ricotta (or taleggio, if preferred):

Add a few tablespoons of the grated Parmesan (or romano) cheese (more cheese will be used for the topping).

Add the pasta to salted boiling water.

At this point, transfer the quattro formaggi mixture to frying pan – so as to mix more easily with the pasta when cooked – and let simmer on very low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

Drain the pasta when not quite al dente….

…..and then fold the pasta into the creamy quattro formaggi mixture….

…adding pepper if desired:

Turn the pasta into a stainless steel baking pan and top with sliced mozzarella pieces:

Sprinkle with Parmesan and then bake for about twenty minutes – or until the top forms a golden crust:

Serve hot.

Buon appetito!

Read about a tasty Pino recipe as a coronavirus distraction

Cook away a possible CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack) with this simple recipe for a buonissima pasta dish

Click here to read about – and see! – our rental apartments in Assisi and in the countryside

Read here about culling the wool of our cashmere goats – a perfect coronavirus distraction

Read here about Pino’s goat cheese

Read here about newborn kids as a coronavirus distraction for us

Read about Assisi acquaintances now producing protective masks, rather than high-end cashmere.

Read here about a snowy day in Umbria during our coronavirus lockdown

Click here for an easy, tasty recipe

Click here for another easy recipe to ward off CPA

Click here for a recipe of Pino’s mamma, Signora Vincenza (also helps ward off CPA)

Click here  for another “coronavirus lockdown” recipe

Read here about an outdoor market visit to ward off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack)

Click here to read about Novella’s vegetable stand during the coronavirus lockdown

Read about how reflecting on Van Gogh helped me see the beauty all around – in simple, insignificant objects

Click here to read about – and see! – a favorite Orvieto eating spot (to ward off CPA)

Read about – and see! – Assisi during coronavirus lockdown

Read about a Pino feast on March 8th as coronavirus distraction 

Click here to read about March 8th – as a coronavirus antidote

Peppa is always perfect distraction from a CPA


  • Janet Eidem says:

    Yum! Such comfort food. The Gorgonzola surprises me, but sounds very tasty.

  • Daniella says:

    I sent this recipe to my family in Florida and they made it as their primo for Easter and loved it. Thank you for this great recipe!

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