Can't Find Feta Anywhere? It's Because Everyone on Earth Is Cooking This Viral Cheesy Pasta—Here's How
We'd be hard-pressed to find an easier way to get dinner on the table.
Another day, another delicious-looking, totally over-the-top indulgent TikTok hack. And while many of TikTok's finest food trends involve a laundry list of saccharine-sweet ingredients or require professional pastry chef-level decorating skills, this week's viral recipe is as east as they come. Meet #bakedfetapasta, a fuss-free feta and noodle dish that's likely responsible for the absence of full blocks of feta cheese available in your grocery store right now. (The cult-worthy recipe tag has garnered nearly 30 million views on TikTok, after all).
To make baked feta pasta, you simply roast fresh cherry tomatoes with an entire block of feta cheese and herbs, then stir it with your favorite type of pasta. "The dish is pretty much hands-off, and all the magic happens in the oven," says Yumna Jawad, the genius food blogger behind Feel Good Foodie. "Made with just a handful of ingredients, it's no wonder this dish went viral in Finland!" Jawad created her own viral video for baking feta pasta, then walked us through her genius method step-by-step.
How to Make Baked Feta Pasta
First, you'll need to gather your ingredients—and hope that you can still find feta at the supermarket.
- Tomatoes: "Opt for cherry or grape tomatoes for this recipe," says Jawad. "Their small size means optimal flavor, and the presentation of the tomatoes when they burst is just stunning."
- Feta Cheese: Use a block of feta cheese for best results. "The block is less processed and will give a more melty consistency when baked," Jawad explains. Yes, it will still work with crumbled feta, just make sure to keep the feta stacked in the middle so that it creates a melty consistency together. Jawad adds that she's tried the recipe with goat cheese (swoon) and that it created a creamy perfect texture, but the cook time may be less depending on how large the block of cheese you use is. "I've also heard success using high quality full fat ricotta," she adds.
- Pasta: You can use any pasta you'd like, or try it with a gluten-free pasta, like Banza. "I have seen this made with penne, spaghetti, bow-tie noodles, and the works. I really don't think there's a wrong shape of pasta to use. However, I do like something with curves or edges so that the sauce can cling on to more of the pasta."
- Fresh Herbs and Seasonings: You'll definitely need olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and fresh basil. But beyond that, zhuzh as much as you'd like. "Try adding some fresh oregano, fresh thyme, or switching the fresh garlic for roasted garlic," she recommends.
The Method, Step-by-Step
- Using an oven-safe baking dish, toss in your cherry or grape tomatoes, and shower them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then mix to combine.
- Add a full block of feta cheese to the center of the baking dish. Jawad explains that it's key to either flip it around a couple times so that it gets coated with the olive oil and seasoning, "or just add a touch more olive oil and a couple cracks of fresh black pepper on top."
- Bake it in the oven until the tomatoes burst and the feta looks melted—"And your house smells heavenly!" Jawad adds.
- As soon as it comes out of the oven, add some fresh minced garlic and fresh basil leaves.
- Mix it around immediately so that the garlic softens from the heat in the dish.
- Add cooked pasta on top and give everything a good stir. The melty feta and bursted tomatoes will essentially create a sauce for the pasta. Serve right out of the baking dish.
Tips for Making Baked Feta Pasta
Use the freshest ingredients possible.
"With such minimal ingredients, I highly recommend using fresh cherry tomatoes (not canned diced tomatoes), fresh basil, and fresh minced garlic," Jawad says. And extra virgin olive oil makes all the difference here—it's essentially what makes up the sauce.
Save the pasta water.
"Whenever I cook pasta, I like to save a half cup of pasta water just in case the pasta dish comes out dry. I didn't use it here, but you can certainly add it if you feel the baked feta pasta needs more sauce."
Crowd the baking dish with the cherry tomatoes.
If you want your roasted cherry tomatoes to be saucy, you need to crowd the pan. (Even though we'd never recommend this if you were roasting potatoes or sautéing mushrooms.) "That being said, if you prefer them dry roasted, place your tomatoes in a single layer to allow for air circulation," Jawad says. "But because you want saucy here, I found that an 8"x11" baking dish works perfectly."
P.S. If you want to make it even easier, skip the oven and use your stovetop instead: