Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta (Cheesecake Factory Copycat)

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My version of Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta is even better than Cheesecake Factory! Tender penne pasta is tossed in a medley of 5 different veggies, plus some freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, lemon, and fresh herbs. This is the best Evelyn’s favorite pasta Cheesecake Factory copycat you’ll ever taste!!

Titled Image: Cheesecake Factory Evelyn's Favorite Pasta


Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta

I’m on a copycat recipe kick! I love recreating my favorite, restaurant-quality dishes at home and then sharing them with all of you.

And based on your reactions in the comments and over on my socials, I’m pretty sure you’re loving it too!!

Cheesecake Factory is a classic in my house — we love taking Munchkin there after a school activity or for a fun lunch on the weekend.

I love so many of their pasta dishes… their macaroni and cheese is insanely creamy, and the Cajun jambalaya pasta is perfectly spicy!

Next up on my list of dishes to recreate was Evelyn’s favorite pasta from Cheesecake Factory.

It’s bursting with fresh veggies that are all doused in a light cheesy sauce, and the whole thing is finished off with a bit of lemon. 

It’s bright, it’s hearty, and it’s downright delicious!

ingredients for cheesecake factory Evelyn's favorite pasta recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Penne – I’m using penne because that’s what they use at Cheesecake Factory!

    But, nothing’s stopping you from experimenting with different pasta shapes. Rotini, farfalle, and gemelli are all great options.
  • Garlic & Onion – The ultimate flavor makers, you know there’s a healthy dose of both onion and garlic in my version of Evelyn’s favorite pasta!

    Honestly, I don’t know if I have a pasta dish on the site without these two aromatics.
  • Olive Oil – And what do we sauté those aromatics in? Olive oil, of course! I like extra virgin best.
  • Vegetables – I’m using broccoli, asparagus, bell pepper, zucchini, and Roma tomatoes, just like Cheesecake Factory Evelyn’s favorite pasta!

    That said, you can add your own personal touch to my recipe and toss in some of your favorites. Mushrooms and spinach would also be delish!
  • Parmesan – Grab a block and shred it yourself at home. The bagged stuff doesn’t melt down as well, and I truly believe that it tastes sooo much better.
  • Lemon – I like to add freshly squeezed lemon juice to the mix as I love the brightness it adds to the overall dish.

    I also garnish it with a touch of lemon zest, and an extra squeeze of juice just before serving. So tasty!
  • Seasonings – All you’ll need is salt, Italian seasoning, chopped fresh parsley, and chopped fresh basil. 
onions, broccoli asparagus, red pepper zucchini and tomatoes in a dutch oven

Tips and Tricks to Make Copycat Cheesecake Factory Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta

  • Sauté with care for a perfect bite every time.

When sautéing your veggies, make sure they’re cooked just right — not too crunchy, but not overcooked either! 

Ultimately, your goal is to cook them so that they keep their texture and taste.

Keep a close eye on the pan to prevent them from going too mushy… about 5 minutes of sauté time should be perfect.

Chopping the vegetables into evenly sized pieces will also help them cook evenly!

  • Layer the flavor.

You’ll notice that I wait to add the garlic to the mix rather than sautéing it along with the onion and vegetables. 

This isn’t a mistake! I hold off on adding the garlic to keep it from burning and getting bitter. 

Add the garlic with the Italian seasoning after about 5 minutes — or when the vegetables are tender — then let it cook for about 1-2 minutes more. 

  • Want a creamier sauce?

I find that my version of Cheesecake Factory Evelyn’s favorite pasta is somewhat creamy on its own thanks to the olive oil, tomatoes, and Parmesan.

That said, if you want an even creamier sauce, feel free to incorporate some heavy cream or cream cheese.

I suggest adding them to the skillet along with the lemon juice and pasta water. Go slowly at first, then do a taste test to see if you need more.

  • Add the fresh herbs at the very end.

You want the fresh parsley and basil to stay as vibrant and fresh as possible, so add them just before serving your Evelyns favorite pasta Cheesecake Factory copycat. 

I also add some extra grated Parmesan cheese for even more cheesy goodness!

Prep Ahead

  • Chop, slice, and dice the vegetables
  • Mince the garlic
  • Shred the Parmesan
  • Chop the fresh herbs

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • 8 Quart Stock Pot – To cook the pasta.
  • Skillet – This is my go-to pan that I’ve had for over a decade! It heats evenly and cleans up beautifully with a little baking soda so it still looks brand new.
  • Box Grater – As much as I love buying bagged shreds because it’s easier, freshly grated cheese melts down so much smoother and tastes better too.
adding fresh lemon juice to vegetables in a large pot

Serving Suggestions 

Create your very own Cheesecake Factory feast at home and serve Evelyn’s favorite pasta with a side of brown bread, some avocado egg rolls as an appetizer, and key lime pie cheesecake for dessert!

Or, you can always bulk up the dish by adding some cooked chicken or shrimp during the last few minutes of cooking. 

Another option would be to serve it alongside some grilled meat, like my Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken, or maybe some Smoked Lobster Tail if you’re feeling fancy!

cooked penne pasta added to vegetables in a dutch oven

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Store Evelyns favorite pasta from Cheesecake Factory in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure to let it cool before storing!

To reheat, microwave single servings in 30-second bursts until heated through.

Or, heat over medium in a saucepan on the stovetop with a splash of water or olive oil to keep it from drying out. 

Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta FAQ

Why is it called Evelyn’s favorite pasta?

According to a Facebook post by Cheesecake Factory, Evelyn’s favorite pasta is named after the restaurant founder’s mother, Evelyn. Apparently, she also came up with the original cheesecake recipe too!

Do I have to use pasta water?

Yes, yes, yes!! I can’t stress enough how important it is to save some of that precious pasta water to use in this recipe. The starch in the water helps to bind the sauce and pasta together, which will leave you with the silkiest sauce ever!

Can I use a different kind of cheese?

Parmesan cheese is typically used in the original Evelyn’s favorite pasta Cheesecake Factory recipe, but you can switch things up if you’d like. Romano, Asiago, or Pecorino Romano are all good options. Just remember to shred and grate it yourself if you can!

cheesecake factory Evelyn's favorite pasta copycat on a white plate

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stirring evelyn's favorite pasta with a wooden spoon

closeup of Evelyn's favorite pasta

Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta (Cheesecake Factory Copycat)

Donna Elick
Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta is made with broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and Parmesan. Bursting with veggies and cheese!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 4


  • 10 ounces penne pasta
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cut asparagus, sliced diagonally
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced and halved
  • 3 small roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • lemon zest, for garnish


  • Cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and set it aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large and deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, broccoli, asparagus, red pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, and season with salt to taste. Saute for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Saute for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and reserved pasta water, and bring it back to a simmer.
  • Add the cooked pasta and half of the shredded Parmesan cheese to the skillet.
  • Cook and stir until the cheese has melted and is fully incorporated.
  • Stir in the fresh parsley and basil to add a burst of flavor.
  • Garnish with lemon zest and the remaining half of the Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

You can customize this pasta dish by adding or substituting vegetables according to your preference. Feel free to include other favorites like mushrooms, or spinach.
For a creamier sauce, you can add a splash of heavy cream or cream cheese to the skillet along with the lemon juice and pasta water.
Adjust the seasoning to taste by adding more salt, or Italian seasoning if desired.
To make it a complete meal, you can add cooked chicken or shrimp to the pasta during the last few minutes of cooking, or serve it alongside grilled meat or fish.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water or olive oil to prevent drying out.
Garnish with additional chopped herbs or grated Parmesan cheese before serving for added freshness and flavor.
Experiment with different types of pasta shapes to change the texture and appearance of the dish.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the pasta just before serving to enhance the citrusy flavors.
Feel free to adjust the quantities of ingredients based on your preferences and the number of servings needed.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 497cal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 231mg | Sugar: 9g | Fiber: 7g | Calcium: 237mg | Iron: 3mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Cheesecake Factory Evelyn's Favorite Pasta - PIN

Originally published March 2024

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