A Viral TikTok Recipe Rethinks Pasta
This TikTok recipe raced onto most media sites for its sheer genius. Because it is so groundbreaking I’m expanding my recipe categories with a new offering: “EVR” which means, “Effort Versus Reward.” When a recipe hits 4-stars and is easy to make— it goes into the EVR department: that means the recipe will change the way you cook.
This technique creates a creamy “Mac & Cheese” version without the fuss.
SERVES 3 – 4
INGREDIENTS: Choosing real sheep’s milk feta in block form is the best way to test this recipe
- pasta – 8 oz, I enjoy cavatappi, any macaroni works
- feta – 8 oz, whole piece
- tomatoes, cherry – 2 pints
- olive oil, 1/2 cup
- salt and pepper to taste
- garlic, fresh – 2 tsp, minced
- basil, fresh – 1/2 cup, chopped, [or parsley, oregano to taste]
PROTEIN [optional] – add cooked beans, rotisserie chicken, tuna, etc at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and start a pot of water with enough salt so it tastes like the ocean
- In a casserole add the feta and surround with the tomatoes and pour olive oil on top. Stir around and flip the feta to coat in oil
- Season with salt and pepper and bake for 35 minutes
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions, making sure it is just al denté. Drain, but reserve 1/2 cup pasta water
- Prep the garlic and basil
- Take the casserole out of the oven and immediately stir in the garlic and basil while breaking up the feta to create a creamy sauce
- Add in the pasta and blend well, adding reserved pasta water it not creamy enough
- If adding cooked protein, do so at step 8.
- Serve and enjoy
I will be testing other veggies, as the cheese is the master element with the pasta
PARMESAN BREADCRUMB TOPPING: Heat a TBS of olive oil in a small skillet and toss with 1/3 cup breadcrumbs or panko. Stir occasionally and when it turns golden, 3-4 minutes, move off heat and toss with 2 TBS of parmesan, or pecorino. Use as a final garnish at the table
Topped with Toasted Bread Crumbs and Parmesan
Recipe adapted by B. Hettig
FETA WITH ROASTED PEPPERS & PASTA
I flexed my cooking muscles and derived this tasty version. For a little more umami, exchange a few ounces of coarsely grated parmesan, or pecorino for feta; but add it after baking. I went so far as to add 4 cheeses for a real celebratory 4th of July [feta, parmesan, pecorino, and manchego]
- Follow the instructions above and replace fresh oregano [or dried] for the basil
- Replace the tomatoes with 2 cups of sliced roasted bell peppers or mild chili peppers, 1/2 cup of chopped green olives, and a 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
- Roast for only 15 minutes
- Out of the oven stir the feta into the peppers and add in the garlic mixture and blend well
- Toss in the pasta and serve warm
- Top with toasted breadcrumbs [above left photo] and serve immediately
I have found there is more flavor when reheated, straight from the fridge!
BAKED FETA WITH HERBS
Now that you get the sense of this recipe as a template consider some leftover pasta and a mess of herbs.
Chop the herbs and when the casserole comes out of the oven toss in the pasta, 1 ounce of grated parmesan, garlic, a good grind of pepper, and herbs.
[Above: I added some frozen meatballs before baking…I could serve this in a restaurant!]
RECIPE MULTIPLICITY: “One Recipe – Many Ways”
This term is my descriptor about cooking flexibility. Take a core recipe and design other dishes. I had leftover brown rice and added it instead of pasta. BINGO! The chewy rice and the umami of the tomatoes and breadcrumbs are incredible. I added 2 TBS. dry sherry during the baking. Served with toasted breadcrumbs [see recipe above].
Served with Lamb Chop, Apple Sauce, and Veggie Stir Fry
Yeah, it’s that simple to create another dish. Let’s continue!
Recipes by B. Hettig
4 thoughts on “Baked Feta Pasta”
My next attempt will make it more Grecian with thin slices of lemon added before baking, then replacing basil with fresh oregano—maybe add some cooked white beans at the end.
Fits my go-to criteria: fast , easy and tasty! Incredibly cheesy and tomato-ey. Added some pre-cooked Aidell’s chicken meatballs to casserole with about 10 minutes left to warm them, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for some kick. Wonderful addition to our past arsenal.
I’m going to have fun stretching and shaping this dish into many new entrees, Mike. I already saw a Tomato-Feta Soup that purees into a lovely Greek dish. I love that one gal in Scandanavia develops a recipe and it goes around the world with so much love and interest!