This easy baked feta pasta dish with olive oil, feta and tomatoes became a viral video sensation on TikTok. But is this dish as easy and delicious as the videos make it look?
We can tell you for certain, this feta pasta dish is certainly easy to make. Just bake some feta cheese with cherry tomatoes and olive oil. Once mixed, the baked ingredients create a creamy, cheesy sauce that has delighted pasta lovers worldwide. So, we had to give baked feta pasta a try!
But as with any recipe, the devil is in the details and ingredients. The key to the best tasting version of baked feta pasta is using quality cheese, fresh garlic and fresh basil. Below, we list all of our important tips for making this dish. For mincing fresh garlic, we’ve found that this OXO garlic press is a game changer. It’s easy to squeeze and once we started using it, we haven’t gone back to jarred minced garlic. And see below in the recipe steps on how to cut your fresh basil!
This feta pasta recipe became so popular in 2021 thanks to American food bloggers sharing their cooking videos on TikTok using the hashtag, #FetaPasta. However, it has actually been around since 2019, when Finnish Food artist Jenni Hayrinen originally shared the recipe on her blog and with video on her Instagram account. Baked feta pasta became very popular in Finland even then, and now has gone viral here in the U.S. Keep scrolling to see our tips for this recipe!
TIPS for making the baked feta pasta recipe:
- Use quality Greek, full fat feta cheese in block form if you can find it. It will be creamier and melts much better than crumbled feta.
- Use a short pasta like you would when making macaroni and cheese. Pasta shapes like penne, rigatoni, shells, bowties or cavatappi will all work very well with the cheese sauce. Long noodles are difficult to mix in and won’t hold the cheese and tomatoes as well.
- Don’t mix in the whole box of pasta – about half is the perfect amount to make sure your dish is creamy and not too dry. If you want to make a whole pound of pasta, then double the amounts for the baked feta and tomatoes.
- Save about ½ cup of your starchy pasta water in case your pasta dish is on the dry side.
- Use fresh basil if you can – it adds a bright, fresh flavor that dried herbs just don’t deliver.
- If you don’t like a strong garlic flavor, you can roast the garlic cloves along with the tomatoes in the oven instead of stirring in minced garlic at the end.
Ingredients for Baked Feta Pasta Recipe:
- 2 cups uncooked pasta
- 1 6 to 8 oz block of feta cheese
- 24 oz. cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or chopped
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Recipe Steps for Baked Feta Pasta:
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large pot with 4-6 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Drizzle olive oil in a baking dish and add the cherry tomatoes. Add some salt and pepper and stir the tomatoes until they are coated well with the oil.
In the center of the tomatoes, add your block of feta cheese. It’s ok if your tomatoes are touching each other – you want everything snug while it’s baking. Drizzle everything with more olive oil and add the oregano and some more black pepper to the top of your feta cheese. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
While the feta cheese and tomatoes are baking, make your pasta. Once the water is boiling, salt it generously. Add about 2 cups of dried pasta, or half of a 1lb box, to the boiling water and stir. Cook for 7 minutes or until al dente. Before draining, reserve about ½ cup of your starchy pasta water – you may need this later.
Peel and chop/mince your fresh garlic cloves. Wash some fresh basil leaves, and remove the stems. Place each basil leaf on top of one another, and roll them tightly. Then using a sharp knife, slice the rolled basil into thin strips for your garnish.
After 30 minutes of baking, turn your oven up to 450 and bake another 10 minutes so the cheese and tomatoes brown nicely. The original TikTok video suggests using the grilling/broiler setting, but that can risk too much browning or burning of your ingredients. You just want them slightly browned, baked and bubbling. Then remove the baked cheese and tomatoes from the oven.
Mix in the fresh minced garlic and red pepper flakes so the garlic cooks in the hot cheese and tomato mixture. Then stir in the pasta.
Top with the fresh basil pieces. If your pasta mixture seems too dry, add in a little of the reserved pasta water until it has a creamy, saucy consistency. Enjoy this cheesy, fresh and easy pasta dish!
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