What is Quattro Formaggi (Cheese) Pizza?

Quattro formaggi pizza, Italian for "four cheese pizza", is a popular pizza variety topped with a combination of four kinds of cheese. It is a cheese lover's dream, known for being rich, flavorful, and decadent.

What is Quattro Formaggi (Cheese) Pizza

The four cheeses work together to create a complex, multi-layered cheese profile. Mozzarella is almost always one of the cheeses, as it provides stretchiness and helps the other cheeses melt nicely. The other three cheeses vary, but often include gorgonzola for tang, fontina or Gruyère for nutty notes, and Parmesan for sharpness.

Origins of the Quattro Formaggi Pizza

Quattro formaggi pizza is believed to have originated in Italy's Lazio region in the early 18th century. So while it doesn't have as long of a history as some other Italian pizza varieties, it has still been around for quite some time.

The recipe emerged as a creative way for pizza makers to showcase four Italian cheeses in one dish. The concept allows the flavors and textures of each cheese to shine through.

Common Cheese Choices

As mentioned above, mozzarella is practically always one of the four cheeses used on a quattro formaggi pizza. It helps create the classic pizza texture that people know and love.

Gorgonzola, a veined blue cheese, is another extremely popular choice. It adds tanginess and a pleasant funkiness. Fontina or Gruyère offer nutty, sweet flavors while also melting nicely. And Parmesan brings a touch of sharpness with its salty, granular texture.

Other cheeses sometimes seen on quattro formaggi pizza are:

  • Pecorino Romano: Sharp, salty, tangy
  • Asiago: Firm, crumbly, nutty
  • Provolone: Milky, smooth, mild
  • Taleggio: Soft, creamy, earthy
  • Gouda: Sweet, brown-buttery, slightly salty

The exact cheese blend will vary depending on the pizzeria. But in general, aim for a mix of textures and flavors to keep things interesting. The contrasts make the pizza really sing!

Sauce or No Sauce?

Quattro formaggi pizza is always focused on highlighting the cheeses. But there is actually some disagreement over whether or not it should have tomato sauce.

Some varieties add tomato sauce underneath the cheeses as a base. The acidity and sweetness of the tomatoes pair nicely with the rich cheeses.

However, other versions forego tomato sauce altogether. The cheese is left to stand completely on its own here, giving it the central spotlight.

Both styles are considered authentic. It just depends on the pizzeria's preferences. Pizza made without sauce may be called "white" quattro formaggi to differentiate it.

Baking Tips

To make quattro formaggi pizza at home:

  • Use high-quality cheeses: Splurge on the good stuff to let the flavors shine. Pre-shredded cheese won't melt as nicely.
  • Grate the hard cheeses: Grate Parmesan, Asiago, etc. so the pieces melt evenly.
  • Mix in blue cheese last: Add crumbly blues like gorgonzola right before baking so they don't fully melt.
  • Bake at a very high temp: Bake at 500°F or higher to quickly melt and lightly brown the cheeses.

Properly melting the cheeses without burning them can take some practice. But when done right, a beautiful, mouthwatering pie will emerge from the oven!

Key Takeaway: Quattro formaggi features four Italian cheeses - usually mozzarella, gorgonzola, fontina or Gruyère, and Parmesan. The goal is to layer flavors and textures.

Variations on the Theme

While "four cheese" is the most common incarnation, some pizzerias have gotten creative with the concept:

Three Cheeses

Using just three cheeses helps simplify things while still showing off a blend. Mozzarella plus gorgonzola and Parmesan is a popular trio.

Five Cheeses

Why stop at four? Some ambitious pizzaiolos add even more cheeses to the mix - perhaps provolone and pecorino. But five is generally the upper limit before it starts getting excessive.

Quattro Latti

"Quattro latti" means "four milks" in Italian. This variety uses four Italian cheeses all from different milk sources - cow, goat, buffalo, and sheep. It uniquely highlights the milks' diversity.

Making Quattro Formaggi at Home

Here is an easy at-home method for quattro formaggi pizza:


  • Pizza dough
  • Olive oil
  • Crushed canned tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced or chopped
  • Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • Fontina, shredded
  • Grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat pizza stone or steel to highest possible temperature.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out dough into a 12-inch round. Brush with olive oil.
  3. Spread crushed tomatoes evenly over dough, leaving about 1⁄2 inch border.
  4. Distribute mozzarella over tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle on fontina, Parmesan, and half of the gorgonzola.
  6. Bake pizza for 12-15 minutes until browned and bubbly.
  7. Finish with remaining gorgonzola.

Feel free to tweak the cheeses to your preferences! Just be sure to have a good melter like mozzarella as the base.

Key Takeaway: At home, bake quattro formaggi pizza at the highest possible temperature to properly melt and brown the cheeses.

What Makes Quattro Formaggi Pizza So Tasty?

There are a few key reasons why quattro formaggi pizza is so mouthwateringly delicious:

  • It layers flavors. Having four cheeses means you get sweet, salty, funky, nutty, sharp tastes all in one bite. The blend keeps your palate intrigued from start to finish.
  • Textural contrasts enhance the experience. Creamy and oozy mozzarella and taleggio. Crumbly gorgonzola. Granular Parmesan. Playing with different textures makes each bite dynamic.
  • The harmony of the cheeses is blissful. Even though there’s a lot going on flavor-wise, the components still complement each other beautifully. It’s a perfect storm of cheese deliciousness!

So don’t be surprised if you polish off multiple slices in one sitting. Quattro formaggi packs some serious addictiveness.

Pairing Wine with Quattro Formaggi Pizza

A nice glass of wine can make quattro formaggi pizza even more of a party for your tastebuds. Here are some excellent wine options:

  • Bubbly: The high acidity in sparkling wines like Prosecco or Franciacorta cuts through all that rich dairy.
  • White: Try a textured white like Chardonnay or even an oaked Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Red: Light-bodied reds work nicely. Valpolicella and Chianti offer fruity contrasts.
  • Dessert wine: The sweetness matches up beautifully with the salty, umami-rich cheeses.

When in doubt, sparkling is very versatile. But experiment until you find your perfect cheese-pairing wine!

Quattro Formaggi Pasta

While quattro formaggi shines brightest in pizza form, the concept also translates deliciously to pasta. Quattro formaggi sauces coat noodles in all that cheesy goodness!

To make it, slowly melt cream with garlic, then incorporate the cheeses a little at a time:

  • Taleggio first to form a smooth base
  • Then Gruyère or Fontina
  • Followed by Parmesan
  • And finally Gorgonzola right before serving

Toss the silky, flavorsome sauce with pasta and sprinkle on extra Parmesan. Bellissimo!

Key Takeaway: Beyond pizza, mixing Italian cheeses into a pasta sauce is another excellent way to enjoy quattro formaggi.


What does "quattro formaggi" mean?

Quattro formaggi means "four cheeses" in Italian.

Do all quattro formaggi pizzas have the same cheeses?

No, the cheese blend tends to vary depending on the pizzeria. But mozzarella and gorgonzola are very frequently included.

Should quattro formaggi pizza have tomato sauce?

Opinions differ. Some versions have tomato sauce while others forego it. Both are considered authentic.

Can I make quattro formaggi pizza at home?

Absolutely! Use pizza dough as your base, then top with mozzarella plus your other favorite melty cheeses. Bake at max oven temp.

What wine pairs best with quattro formaggi pizza?

Sparkling wines are very versatile. But fruity reds like Valpolicella and dessert wines also make excellent partners.


Quattro formaggi pizza celebrates the way different Italian cheeses work harmoniously together. Each one contributes its own flavors, aromas, meltiness, and texture.

Customize your perfect quattro formaggi pie with your favorite cheese varieties. Just be sure to have mozzarella as the melty binding agent.

This cheese lover’s pizza is truly a culinary delight worth trying. Each gooey, flavor-packed bite will have you quickly going back for more!

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions