What is Cheese Wheel Pasta?

Cheese wheel pasta, also known as pasta alla ruota or pasta dalla forma, is a dramatic pasta dish where hot pasta is tossed in a bowl made from a hollowed-out wheel of cheese. As the pasta hits the carved cheese walls, it melts more cheese into the noodles creating a decadent, cheesy dish.

What is Cheese Wheel Pasta

This style of pasta preparation and serving seems to have become popular in the last decade, though its origins may date back centuries. Some theorize that shepherds would use cheese wheels as portable bowls, but cheese wheels were definitely used for storage and transport even in medieval times.

As this dish has gained popularity, especially with viral social media posts, more and more restaurants have started offering their own takes on cheese wheel pasta. While most versions stick to the basic concept of tossing pasta in a cheese wheel, ingredients and specific cheese types can vary.

Where to Get Cheese Wheel Pasta

While not yet everywhere on menus, cheese wheel pasta can be found in select Italian restaurants across the country. Here are some of the most popular spots to get this dramatic and decadent dish:

Ragu & Pesto - Houston, TX

This Houston Italian spot offers cheese wheel pasta with options like shrimp scampi and truffle cream sauce.

Vesuvio Bistro - Little Rock, AR

Vesuvio Bistro serves up cheese wheel pasta along with other Italian fare like pizza and paninis.

Cacio e Pepe - New York, NY

As the name suggests, this New York restaurant focuses on cacio e pepe, including a popular cheese wheel version.

Prosecco Fresh Italian Kitchen - Las Vegas, NV

The Henderson location of this local Vegas favorite offers cheese wheel pasta dishes.

Le Petit Paris - Los Angeles, CA

This French-inspired LA restaurant serves up cheese wheel pasta with options like burrata and prosciutto.

Monello - San Diego, CA

San Diego diners can enjoy the show of tableside cheese wheel pasta preparation at Monello.

Forma - Santa Monica, CA

Arguably the restaurant that launchedcheese wheel pasta into widespread popularity, Forma offers various cheese and pasta combos served out of carved cheese wheels.

Key Takeaway: Cheese wheel pasta can be found in high-end Italian restaurants in major cities across the US, though it may take some searching to find.

Common Variations of Cheese Wheel Pasta

While each restaurant putting their spin on cheese wheel pasta will vary the specific ingredients, most versions stick to the same basic preparation method and pasta dish themes.

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e pepe, meaning "cheese and pepper" in Italian, is a common pasta variety to get the cheese wheel treatment. This dish is basically an amped up mac and cheese, mixing pasta with parmesan or pecorino cheese and plenty of black pepper.


The hearty meat sauce of a Bolognese pairs nicely with the richness of cheese wheel pasta. Some restaurants will serve fettuccine Bolognese tossed tableside in a parmesan wheel.

Seafood Pastas

Delicate seafood often shows up in cheese wheel pasta dishes too. Shrimp scampi, for example, gets a luxurious and dramatic twist when finished in a melted cheese wheel.


Some restaurants really lean into the tableside show by lighting the carved cheese wheel on fire. Typically this involves splashing some liquor like vodka or brandy into the wheel and lighting it up before tossing the pasta inside.

Key Takeaway: Common cheese wheel pasta varieties include cacio e pepe, Bolognese, seafood pastas, and flaming presentations.

Enjoying Cheese Wheel Pasta at Home

Unfortunately most people don't have access to the restaurant cheese wheel pasta experience on a regular basis. But for true pasta and cheese lovers willing to invest in some equipment, it's possible to replicate the decadent dish at home.

  1. You'll need to start by purchasing a wheel of cheese. Cheese wheels can cost over $100 and may need to be special ordered from a gourmet store or online retailer. Parmesano reggiano and pecorino romano are classic Italian cheese wheel choices.
  2. When your cheese wheel arrives, you'll need to carve out a bowl shape in the center, leaving about a 2 inch layer of cheese around the walls and base. Save the leftover cheese you carve out to grate over your pasta later.
  3. Chill your carved cheese wheel in the fridge until ready to use, then let it sit out for about half an hour before cooking to take the chill off.
  4. When your pasta is cooked al dente, transfer it immediately into the carved cheese wheel and toss rapidly to melt and incorporate cheese into the noodles.
  5. Serve your decadent cheese wheel pasta creation right away for the best texture! Make sure to tightly wrap any leftover carved cheese wheel and store in fridge for another go round.


What kind of cheese works best for cheese wheel pasta?

For the authentic restaurant experience, you'll want an Italian hard aged cheese like parmesan or pecorino romano. The dense texture and concentrated flavor of these grating cheeses helps them melt into a creamy coating on the pasta. Young soft cheeses won't have the same pleasant melting properties.

Is one cheese wheel enough for a whole meal?

It depends on the size of your gathering, but one pound of cheese can coat around 8 servings of pasta. For a dinner party, have extra grated cheese on hand to toss with additional batches of pasta if your wheel runs out.

Can I re-use a cheese wheel?

You can definitely extend the life of your carved cheese wheel by tightly wrapping in plastic and storing in the fridge between uses. Just be diligent about scraping off any hardened leftover bits before adding fresh hot pasta for the best results.


Cheese wheel pasta provides a dramatic and decadent twist on everyone's favorite comfort food. Originally an ultra-indulgent niche dish found mostly in upscale Italian restaurants, this seemingly ancient cheese bowl preparation method has recently captured the public's imagination thanks to viral social media posts.

More restaurants have started to experiment with their own riffs on cheese wheel pasta to feed public curiosity around this dish. And while recreating the experience at home takes effort, devoted pasta and cheese lovers can invest in cheese wheels to DIY the restaurant-drama for dinner parties.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions