BAKED FETA PASTA (VIRAL TIKTOK RECIPE)

BAKED FETA PASTA (VIRAL TIKTOK RECIPE)

BAKED FETA PASTA (VIRAL TIKTOK RECIPE)
Baked feta pasta- the recipe that has taken the culinary world by storm! This pasta with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes is creamy, delicious, and beyond easy to put together. It is the perfect dish for busy weeknight dinners and the whole thing is done in about 45 minutes with minimal hands-on time!

Overhead shot of baked feta pasta in a baking dish

Trending recipes are a thing these days! Remember the dalgona coffee, cloud bread, pancake cereal, chocolate bombs, tortilla folding hack, and now, baked feta pasta!

Baked Feta Pasta (Viral TikTok Recipe)
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I resisted making this recipe for so long now, coz honestly, I thought it would die down. But it looks like that is far from happening, as stores in the US are already facing a shortage of feta cheese.

Even though TikTok is banned in India, I keep up with trending recipes, thanks to my blogging buddies. Since most of them have already hopped aboard this baked feta pasta trend, I finally caved in too!

I really wanted to know if this recipe is worth the hype! Both me and my husband also happen to love feta cheese. So there was nothing to lose.

After trying the recipe, I can understand why it’s gotten so popular. It is so easy to put together and tastes delicious. I was really skeptical that the kids would enjoy this dish, so imagine my surprise when they did! Win-win 😀

I usually make a simple skillet cherry tomato pasta, which is delicious in its own way. But this version was rich and indulgent, definitely not something that can be made frequently given the calories. It is good for one of those days when you crave creamy and cheesy comfort food.

This recipe is so good you guys, it’s all about the insanely delicious feta tomato sauce!!

BAKED FETA PASTA INGREDIENTS 

You will need the following ingredients;

  • Feta cheese: I suggest using full-fat feta cheese for best results. There’s no additional heavy cream in this recipe, the creamy component comes from the feta cheese. So try and use full-fat for the ultimate baked feta pasta!

  • Tomatoes: This recipe works best with cherry tomatoes, though you can also use grape tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes shrivel and burst open on roasting, releasing their sweet juices, which when combined with the melted feta cheese creates this luxurious, tangy, and creamy sauce! You can also use Roma or plum tomatoes, quarter them and use them in the recipe. However, I strongly suggest using cherry tomatoes. 

  • Pasta: I’ve used rotini which is spiral-shaped pasta. The pasta works well in this recipe as the sauce adheres well to the ridges of the pasta, so every bite is really flavorful. 

  • Olive oil: You will need a good amount of olive oil in this recipe to make the sauce. If you skimp on it, the sauce won’t be as creamy. 

  • Onion and garlic: Onions are not included in the original recipe, but I like the flavor it imparts to the sauce. I’ve also added more garlic cloves, as roasted garlic turns sweet and creamy enhancing the overall flavor of the sauce.

  • Seasoning: I’ve used kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, and some Italian seasoning. The original recipe only calls for salt, pepper and half a red chilli pepper, but the red pepper flakes are a good substitute to add some heat. 

  • Fresh basil leaves: I’ve used a lot of fresh basil as opposed to the original recipe. The sweet flavor of basil leaves adds the much needed freshness in this recipe, balancing out the creamy and tangy flavors of the feta cheese.

WHY SHOULD YOU CAVE IN AND TRY THIS RECIPE TOO?

If you enjoy feta, then here are some of the reasons why you must try this recipe!

  • If you are on the lookout for new pasta recipes, give this one a go and do so soon, before there’s a shortage of feta cheese in your area 😀 

  • It is packed with flavors given that it’s made with just a few ingredients

  • Perfect for meatless meals, you won’t miss the meat at all! At least we didn’t!

  • You hardly need any hands-on prep time!

  • Ready in about 45 minutes from start to finish!

  • Ideal to feed a crowd

  • Can be customized to suit your palate (See variations below)

HOW TO MAKE TIKTOK VIRAL RECIPE BAKED FETA PASTA – STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: BAKED TOMATO FETA SAUCE

Preheat the oven at 400° F or 200° C

Place 1.5 pounds of cherry tomatoes, 1 cup sliced onion, and 8 to 9  garlic cloves in a baking dish or casserole. 

Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil. 

Season with 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and half teaspoon of Italian seasoning.  Give it a good mix. 

Make some space in the center of the dish, place a 7 to 8 oz block of feta cheese, drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the tomatoes are bursting, and the cheese is soft and melty. 

STEP 2: COOK THE PASTA

While the veggies are baking, boil the pasta. Cook 8 oz of dried pasta as per the instructions on the pasta box. Drain, reserve about a cup of the starchy pasta water, if needed later.

If you don’t need the starchy water, refrigerate it for later, in case you have leftovers, it will come in handy while heating the pasta. 

STEP 3: ASSEMBLE AND SERVE

Remove the baking dish from the oven. 

The tomatoes would have burst open and the cheese should be soft and melty. Mash the cheese with the help of a fork or spatula, then mix everything together. (Photos 18 and 19) Excercise precaution while mashing the tomatoes as the juices are hot. 

Add the cooked pasta and a handful of basil leaves, roughly torn.

Toss gently until the pasta is evenly coated with the creamy sauce. 

If it looks dry, add some of the reserved pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time. I didn’t need to add any extra liquid. 

Check for seasonings, adjust with salt and pepper if required.  Dish out, serve with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS

This dish is best served quickly while it is still warm.

If you have leftovers, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 to 3 days.

Reheat in the microwave or a skillet on medium-low heat until heated through. Add some of the reserved pasta water as needed if it looks too dry. 

VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE

This recipe is delicious as it is, but there’s plenty of room to give it your own twist. Here are ideas to give you a headstart!

Make a sauce: If you don’t like the cherry tomato skins, blend all the ingredients after baking to make a delicious, ultra-creamy, tomato and feta sauce. You can also strain the sauce for a really smooth consistency.

Add some proteins: You can mix in about a cup or two of diced cooked or shredded rotisserie chicken, shrimps, browned Italian sausage, etc.

More veggies: You can add more veggies for a nutritional boost such as bell peppers, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, asparagus, yellow squash, artichoke hearts, or mushrooms. I suggest cooking these separately in a skillet and then adding them along with the cooked pasta so that they retain their tender-crisp texture.

If you roast the soft veggies along with the tomatoes, they may just disappear into the sauce, adding their own flavor. You can choose to grill, saute, steam or roast these veggies. 

Throw in some greens: You can also add some greens like baby spinach, arugula, baby kale, etc along with the pasta. The greens will wilt down in the residual heat from the sauce. 

Add fresh herbs: You can throw in sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and/or freshly chopped parsley, or chives for a change.

Serve it as dip: The feta tomato sauce is perfect to be used as a dip for crusty bread. You can even top crostini with this delicious sauce. Avoid mashing all the tomatoes, keep some whole for texture. Yum!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use crumbled feta cheese?

Yes, you can! Though it won’t melt as well as a block. Pile the crumbled cheese in the center of the baking dish, and bake as directed. 

Can I make this with other cheese?

I’ve not tried this recipe with any other cheese. But I’ve seen versions on the net where others have tried using mascarpone, goat cheese, burrata, and ricotta.

Can I use other types of pasta?

Yes, you can use any kind of pasta. Penne, cavatappi, rigatoni, bowtie, elbow, orecchiette, gnocchi are some of the other pasta that will work great in this recipe. You can also switch it up by using spaghetti, capellini, fettuccine, or angel hair pasta for a change. 

Can I make this recipe vegan and gluten-free?

You can use any gluten-free pasta of choice to make this recipe gluten-free. As for the vegan version, I’m not sure as I’ve never tried vegan feta cheese. I found this video on youtube that uses vegan feta cheese that worked well.

Baked Feta Pasta (Viral TikTok Recipe)
Baked feta pasta- the recipe that has taken the culinary world by storm! This pasta with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes is creamy, delicious, and beyond easy to put together. It is the perfect dish for busy weeknight dinners and the whole thing is done in about 45 minutes with minimal hands-on time! 

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced onion or shallots
  • 8 to 9 garlic cloves, adjust as desired
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 7 oz Greek feta cheese
  • 8 oz dried pasta of choice
  • A handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for serving, optional

Instructions

  • Place cherry tomatoes, sliced onion, and sliced garlic cloves in a baking dish or casserole.

  • Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil.

  • Season with kosher or sea salt,half of the freshly cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, and half of the Italian seasoning.  Give it a good mix.

  • Make some space in the center of the dish, place the block of feta cheese, drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, sprinkle the remaining black pepper and Italian seasoning.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the tomatoes are bursting, and the cheese is soft and melty.

  • While the veggies are baking, boil the pasta. Cook 2 cups of pasta as per the instructions on the pasta box. Drain, reserve about a cup of the starchy pasta water, if needed later.

  • Remove the baking dish from the oven.

  • The tomatoes would have burst open and the cheese should be soft and melty. Mash the cheese with the help of a fork or spatula, then mix everything together.

  • Add the cooked pasta and roughly torn basil leaves.

  • Toss gently until the pasta is evenly coated with the creamy sauce.

  • If it looks dry, add some of the reserved pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time. I didn’t need to add any extra liquid.

  • Check for seasonings, adjust with salt and pepper if required. Dish out, serve with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.