I am so excited to share with you a super easy, super tasty, baked tomato and Feta for pasta. It is hugely popular and currently trending on TicTok.
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Making the dish is simplified as the cherry tomatoes roast in the oven right along with the feta with some fresh garlic, seasonings, and olive oil. Thirty minutes or so and the tomatoes are roasted and flavorful. The feta is soft and ready to be stirred with the tomatoes creating a creamy sauce for whatever pasta you’d like to serve it with.
This recipe is a variation of the many shared on TicTok.
What is TicTok, you may be wondering?
TikTok is a social media platform, used mainly by young people for creating and sharing short videos such as singing, dancing, comedy, and lip-syncing.
There are concerns parents have about the platform as it can be quite addicting. I have found it entertaining, funny and cute since my preference are for adorable puppy and dog videos, skilled and synchronized dancing clips along with cooking and kitchen hacks and tips.
I have encountered some language I am not comfortable with and some things I might label, crude, but nothing I wasn’t able to simple scroll past. But, I am sure there is the possibility for content I would find offensive. Should that become an issue, I will discontinue using the app.
I have enjoyed many of the cooking posts, like this one. So I played around to see if it was good. Of course, the recipes are never as easy and fast as the videos suggest, but this is really tasty and very easy to prepare.
Feta is a Greek brined curd white cheese made from sheep’s milk or from a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. It can have small or no holes, and has no skin. It is formed into large blocks, and aged in brine. Its flavor is tangy and salty, ranging from mild to sharp. It is crumbly and has a slightly grainy texture. Feta is used as a table cheese, in salads such as Greek salad and many other dishes.
Feta has an intense flavor and it is naturally lower in fat by weight from other cheeses because it has a high water content. It is also generally lower in calories than other intense flavored cheeses. It is a good source of calcium, phosphorus and protein.
What does feta taste like?
Feta has a tangy, rich and slightly salty flavor. The more aged it is is the more peppery and hard it is becomes. Feta that is made mostly with sheep’s milk will have a more rich buttery flavor, while goat cheese makes the cheese harder and milder in flavor.
How to Store Feta
To keep Feta fresh, it should be stored in a brine solution, otherwise it will go bad quickly. You can make your own brine, by adding 2-3 ounces of salt to 4 cups of water and make sure the Feta is completely covered in the solution. Keep it in a closed container and it can last like this for about 6 months.
How to make Baked Tomato and Feta Pasta
Rinse your tomatoes.
Mince 3-5 garlic cloves, depending on how much you like garlic.
Zest 1 lemon.
Add the tomatoes to a baking dish and pour the olive oil over the top, reserving a few tablespoons for later.
Add the lemon zest and minced garlic to the pan.
Sprinkle in 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Give this a stir so everything is coated nicely.
Add the block of feta right in the middle of the tomatoes and drizzle on the reserved olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper. Place the dish in a preheated 400F degree oven and bake for 30 minutes. This is optional, but after the 30n minutes, I set the oven to broil and gave the mixture an additional three minutes, browning the tomatoes and feta a little extra.
While the tomato and feta mixture is baking, cook your pasta according to package directions.
Drain the pasta reserving a cup of the cooking water.
Remove the tomato and feta from the oven.
Toss in the baby spinach and stir until the feta is mixed in. It might seem too oily but it will all combine nicely when the pasta is added.
Toss in the pasta, adding the pasta water if the mixture seems dry. Many of the TicTok recipes say to use 1 pound of pasta but I prefer to use less for more of the tomato and feta ratio to pasta. Make yours how you like it best.
After the pasta is stirred in and if you want, top with Parmesan or Asiago cheese and torn basil leaves.
I have also tried serving the tomato and feta mixture over the cooked pasta on individual plates and like it both ways.
Baked Tomato and Feta Pasta
- 1/2 to 1 pound pasta
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 cups (1 1.2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1 8-ounce block feta
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- dash to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Handful fresh baby spinach (about 1/2 cup)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Fresh Basil to garnish
- Parmesan or Asiago cheese to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Add the cherry tomatoes to a baking dish and pour the olive oil over the tomatoes (reserve a couple of tablespoons to pour over the feta). Season with salt and pepper.
Toss this all together to evenly coat.
Add the block of feta cheese to the center of the tomatoes and drizzle on the remainder of the olive oil.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
While the tomatoes and feta bake, prepare the pasta per the package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and stir until the feta is all incorporated.
Toss in the pasta, adding a little of the pasta water if the mixture seems dry.
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